November is not only the month of Aneta Corsaut’s birthday, it is also the anniversary of
her death. I thought this would be an appropriate time to talk to a friend of Aneta’s and get
him to share some of his memories with us.
I met Dave Nash at the 2002 Mayberry Days
when Evie from Wally’s Service in Mt. Airy, N.C., brought him over to meet me and get me to autograph a Mayberry poetry book. “This was Helen Crump’s
escort,” she told me. That piqued my curiosity so I asked him what Evie meant.
David explained that he had met Aneta in 1986 while he working on his first Master’s Degree in Management as well pastoring/teaching. They become close friends instantly and remained close until 1993 when both David and Aneta grew too ill to correspond, she with cancer and he with liver failure. David sometimes squired Aneta around to various events and did occasional duty as part-time PR agent and body guard. David cordially agreed to let me interview him about Aneta and their friendship.
CA: When and how did you meet Aneta?
David Nash: I meet Aneta for the first time in Memphis while visiting with Hal Smith (Otis)
and Betty Lynn (Thelma Lou). I had gone there for the Memphis Film festival. Hal and Betty and I had just finished lunch and we were in the lobby chatting about
TAGS. In through the doors walked Aneta. This was the first time I had laid eyes on her. She was beautiful. She joined us and we instantly became friends. Very good friends.
I was living at the time in Nashville.
As I got to know her, we had the opportunity
to go to different events together. Her home was in Studio City, CA, and
mine in Nashville, TN, and we would fly and meet
and have time together.
In our times together, two events stand out to me.
Once in Memphis, I was trying to buy a
picture of Andy Griffith from a dealer who would not sell it. Aneta said, “Come with me!” I took her to the young dealer and she walked up and said in her mischievous voice, “Why can’t you sell this picture to my son?” He responded as best as he knew how, “I didn’t know he was your son!” She signed 5 pictures of
herself and gave it to him in exchange for Andy’s
autographed picture. That night we made an appearance with the other stars
that were there and then went out late until about 2 AM and listened to live jazz downtown.
We talked late into the night
CA: What was Aneta like?
She was dazzling, classy, sharp wit, and very bright. I loved her wicked
laugh and that she was still the epitome of glamor and
sexiness. She had come a long way from her roots in Hutchinson, Kansas. Just
hearing her talk about Hutchinson made you want
to go. Small town values she stilled carried in her…even in Hollywood. What she brought with her from Hutchinson was
the way she treated people and the love of people. She made friends easily and then she made them your friends, too.
She loved her family deeply and told long stories about the various perfections and talents of May and Jesse,
and of their mother and father. She would occasionally laugh, explaining away the quirky spelling of her name
“Oh, it’s just that mom couldn’t spell.”
She took being an aunt very seriously, and she admired her nieces and nephew. But you didn’t have to be a niece or nephew to bask in her
appreciation. She loved young people and, unlike most of us who seem to
grow crotchety with years, she could always understand where young people were coming
Some folks like me
didn’t know her until she was a professional actress, but she made
an indelible mark on science fiction with her appearance in “The Blob.” She also showed
she was as Helen Crump. But I don’t think it matters where you came into
her life–if you met Aneta and she connected with you–you had a friend for
life. Once Aneta accepted you into her friendship it was forever.
There was a kind of aura of warmth and acceptance that surrounded her and when you were with her you knew that you were important to her. She always saw the best
in people. That’s why I loved her so.
One could easily bask in her warmth
and kindness and generosity and find themselves agreeing with her about almost anything.
On one occasion we talked politics. She was a strong Democrat, and I was
of another persuasion. She loved Jimmy Carter –
told me that he was by far the best President these United States had ever
had. I listened and listened and listened. When
she got done extolling the virtues of Jimmy Carter, I almost agreed! For a moment, she
almost turned me into a Democrat!
CA: What were her likes and dislikes?
David Nash: Aneta had liberal ideas on
politics and conservative ones on art. She was many things:
A lover of roses, Canterbury Bells and tomatoes; of dogs and cats.
Perhaps I should say that again–of dogs and cats- and dogs.
She was a Philadelphia Phillies Phan. She loved her house tucked away in the
grove of Studio City. But in spite of her love of that house she had no
love of housekeeping. She on occasion would fuss about straightening and
cleaning–and that usually turned into an excuse for a party.
She was equally devoted to her blue MG–impractical and ridiculous though it
always was. It’s been years since that car could make it as far as Pasadena.
She loved to play Mah Jongg. She never remembered the rules but she could always win. She was
like that with games, a winner without half trying and without being
ruthless, at least not too ruthless!
She loved Deli’s and could eat at a Deli daily. She loved live Jazz and reading mysteries.
CA: What did you learn from Aneta?
David Nash: There was the public Aneta, with the warmth and charm she would bring to the
table, never turning down an autograph and
always making an instant connection with people, much like the private Aneta. In the end
struggled with cancer that finally took her from us, she handled it that struggle so
admirably, with so much class. She stayed
herself, interested in everything, everyone,
never self-pitying, chuckling over favorite absurdities. If she could come
back one more time, she would give us one more big kiss, and be as sweet as she was
before she left us.
CA: What did she have to say about TAGS?
She loved the cast and enjoyed it very much. One thing
about TAGS which she was not comfortable with was the
comedy. She loved drama. But the people were so wonderful it made it easy for her. Her favorite episode of TAGS was
# 213 in which she writes a book “Helen, the Authoress.” She also like the
episode “Man in a Hurry.” She also really enjoyed the
series with Griffith on “Matlock.”
CA: Did she ever talk about her faith?
David Nash: We never really went there. She was of the Catholic persuasion.
She knew me when I was dying of liver failure and
needed a transplant. During that time she expressed several times that she
had prayed for me.
Born – November 3, 1933; Hutchinson, KS
Died – November 6, 1995; Studio City, CA
David also sent me the
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