Howard McNear was a talented actor who is best known for his role as Floyd the Barber on the hit TV show “The Andy Griffith Show.” Despite his success in the entertainment industry, McNear had a tragic personal life, and his health problems eventually led to his early retirement.
McNear was born on January 27, 1905, in Los Angeles, California. He got his start in show business as a radio announcer and actor before transitioning to film and television roles. He appeared in several movies throughout the 1940s and 1950s, including “The Fortune Cookie” and “The Shakiest Gun in the West.” However, it was his role as Floyd the Barber that truly made him a household name.
McNear’s health problems began in the mid-1960s, when he suffered a stroke during the filming of “The Andy Griffith Show.” He recovered quickly and returned to the show, but he suffered a second stroke just a year later. This stroke left him partially paralyzed, and he was forced to leave the show. McNear continued to act in smaller roles for a few years, but his declining health made it difficult for him to continue working.
In addition to his health issues, McNear also struggled with alcoholism. He was known to drink heavily on the set of “The Andy Griffith Show,” and his colleagues later reported that they had noticed a decline in his mental and physical health as a result.
Howard McNear was married to Helen Sperry, a fellow actor whom he met while performing in a radio show. The couple got married in 1937 and had one child together, a son named Christopher. However, McNear’s marriage to Helen was reportedly strained due to his heavy drinking, which often caused him to become verbally abusive towards her.
Despite the problems in his marriage, McNear was known to have had a number of affairs throughout his life. One of his most notable affairs was with his co-star Frances Bavier, who played Aunt Bee on “The Andy Griffith Show.” Bavier and McNear’s characters had a close relationship on the show, and their off-screen affair reportedly lasted for several years.
McNear also had a romantic relationship with actress Kay Stewart, who appeared on “The Andy Griffith Show” in a guest role. The two began dating while working together and were reportedly quite serious about each other. However, their relationship ultimately ended due to McNear’s ongoing health problems.
Despite his tumultuous personal life, Howard McNear was beloved by his co-stars and fans alike, and is still remembered for his talent and comedic timing on “The Andy Griffith Show.” He was known for his wit and his dedication to his craft, and he was a valued member of the cast of “The Andy Griffith Show.” His character, Floyd the Barber, remains a beloved figure in American pop culture.
McNear passed away on January 3, 1969, at the age of 63. His death was attributed to complications from pneumonia, which had been brought on by his previous strokes. Though he had a short career, Howard McNear made a lasting impact on the entertainment industry, and his talent and dedication continue to be remembered and celebrated today.