The great breakthrough of this “Andy Griffith Show” star occurred in a classic film with the late Steve McQueen

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Any star had to get their start somewhere. And in the case of a certain Andy Griffith Show actor, it wasn’t on another television show.

They were getting their start in a classic movie with the King of Cool himself, Steve McQueen.

Steve McQueen didn’t want to do “The Blob.”

In fact, McQueen was offered his feature film debut in “The Blob” when he was barely 30. In the film he played teenager Steve Andrews and the film was a success practically overnight, according to his biographer Marc Eliot in Steve McQueen: A Biography.

“[McQueen] loathed the script when he first read it because he knew he was far too old to play the teenage lead he was aiming for: a privileged suburban kid with a hot rod and a group of freshly scrubbed friends who eventually have to deal with the arrival of the purple amorphous Blob,” Eliot wrote.

 

The blob was a fun 1950s sci-fi film that brought in a killer box office, according to Eliot: “Certainly The Blob proved to be a huge hit, grossing more than $1.5 million in its first month and an astonishing $12 million on its first domestic release by the standards of the time.”

Aneta Corsaut starred with McQueen in the lead role.

The Andy Griffith Show’s Miss Crump fame, actress Aneta Corsaut, starred alongside McQueen in The Blob.

“Aneta went to New York to take acting classes,” wrote Daniel de Visé in Andy and Don: The Making of a Friendship and a Classic American TV Show. “She lived on K rations donated by Army buddies and studied under Lee Strasberg, the alleged father of method acting.”

The funny story of why Steve McQueen’s driving terrified Bruce Lee

But Corsaut’s hard work paid off when she was cast in the 1950s monster invasion movie.

“In 1958, she won a role in the independent film The Blob, opposite Steve McQueen,” he wrote. “In 1960, she moved to Hollywood and broke into television.”

How Corsaut became Miss Crump

By the time Corsaut arrived in Hollywood, she had begun dating a television writer named Jim Fritzell. It was he who introduced her to the director of The Andy Griffith Show, Bob Sweeney, and eventually she was cast in the show as Opie’s teacher Helen Crump.

“In Helen Crump, Aneta would form one of the great proto-feminist television characters of her time,” de Visé wrote. “Like Ann Marie in That Girl, Helen supported herself, a single young woman living apart from her parents.”

And viewers loved Miss Crump’s take on Mayberrry.

“Fan mail poured in,” he continued. “Viewers loved Helen Crump, although some questioned whether she needed to be so tough on Andy. The producers quickly signed Aneta up for more episodes.”

Corsaut outlasted all of Griffith’s other love interests on the series and remained until the series ended in 1968.

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