Maggie Peterson

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Maggie Peterson
Bill Dana Maggie Peterson Bill Dana Show 1964.JPG
Peterson and Bill Dana in 1964.
Background information
Birth name Maggie Peterson Mancuso
Born (1941-10-01) October 1, 1941 (age 73)
Origin Greeley, Colorado, United States
Genres Country music, Bluegrass music
Occupation(s) Television actress and singer
Years active 1958–present
Labels Capitol Records

Maggie Peterson Mancuso (born January 10, 1941 in Greeley, Colorado) is an American television actress. The youngest of four children, Maggie was born to Arthur and Tressa Hill Peterson. Her father was a doctor and her mother a homemaker.

She is best known for playing Charlene Darling on The Andy Griffith Show.[1] She also played the character of Doris in the episode "A Girl for Goober" (1968).

Aside from the The Andy Griffith Show, she also appeared on other TV shows such as Love American Style, Green Acres, Gomer Pyle USMC, and The Odd Couple. She also appeared in an episode of "Mayberry R.F.D. as Edna, a cafe waitress. She also appeared in the 1986 movie Return to Mayberry. Peterson starred as the innocent Rose Ellen in the 1969 film The Love God?, starring next to Don Knotts. She also appeared in the 1968 film Angel in My Pocket.

Peterson also landed a role as Susie, the coffee shop watress on The Bill Dana Show, another spin-off from The Danny Thomas Show, which aired from September 1963 to January 1965.

She grew up in a musical family. While growing up in Colorado, she has said her earliest memories were of music. Peterson, her brother Jim and two of Jim's friends formed a small group called the Ja-Da Quartet. They would ride around in the back of a pickup truck singing to people.

In 1954, at a Capitol Records convention, Dick Linke (manager of Andy Griffith and Jim Nabors) heard Maggie singing and was so impressed with her, he encouraged her to come to New York, so in 1958, after graduating high school, Maggie and the group did just that. They landed a number of stints on the Perry Como Show and the Pat Boone Show, and in 1959 they released their album "It's the Most Happy Sound." Soon after, the band broke up and went back home.

A short time later, Maggie joined another group, The Ernie Mariani Trio (later renamed Margaret Ann and the Ernie Mariani Trio). The group traveled for several years and had stints in resort areas such as Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe and Reno, where Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack were often seen in the audience while Maggie performed. It was while she was on tour that Maggie was discovered by The Andy Griffith Show director Bob Sweeny and producer Aaron Ruben.

For The Andy Griffith Show, Peterson initially read for the role of love interest for Sheriff Andy Taylor, but the role went to Elinor Donahue (Ellie Walker). Soon after, she was selected to play the role of Charlene Darling. Charlene Darling, the only daughter of Brisco Darling, had a crush on Sheriff Taylor ("Paw, can't I just look at the pretty man?").

The Darlings, including Brisco's four boys (played by The Dillards bluegrass band) lived in the mountains and came to town on many occasions. When in town, they enjoyed playing music with Andy. One of Charlene's favorite songs is "Salty Dog". The one that made her cry was "Boil that Cabbage Down". Ernest T. Bass had his eyes on Charlene and believed he had courting rights because her marriage to Dud Wash had been performed by Sheriff Andy Taylor acting as a justice of the peace. He tried to steal her away on the day they were to be remarried by a preacher. Threatening the gathering with a shotgun, he runs off with the fully veiled 'bride.' While Charlene and Dud are hurriedly married by the preacher, Earnest T. discovers the person in the veil is really Barney Fife. Charlene and Dud had a daughter together, Andilina. They tried to betroth Andilina to Opie, as it was customary in their family. Brisco called off the engagement of Opie and Andilina when he discovered there was witchery in the Taylor family. Some 20 years later, not knowing what became of Dud Wash, Ernest T was finally bethrothed to Charlene.

In 1968, while she was singing as an opening act for Andy Griffith at a casino in Lake Tahoe, Peterson met jazz musician Gus Mancuso, who was playing bass in a lounge act. The two married and have been together ever since. The couple spent a number of years in Los Angeles, where Peterson worked doing commercials, until they decided to settle in Las Vegas, where Maggie now works as a location scout for film and television.

In April 2008, The Darlings received a star on the Missouri Walk of Fame in Marshfield, Missouri. Peterson and Darlings/DIllards band members Dean Webb and Mitch Jayne were on hand representing The Darlings.


  1. ^ Tucker, David C. (2010). Lost Laughs of '50S and '60S Television: Thirty Sitcoms That Faded Off Screen. McFarland. p. 17. ISBN 9780786455829. Retrieved 1 October 2014. 

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