Ken Berry: From "F-Troop," to "Mayberry" to "Mama's Family," and Beyond

Herbie J Pilato
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He was one of the most likable and talented performers in the history of the entertainment industry. He could act, sing, and dance. He starred in several different TV sitcoms through the decades including F-Troop, Mayberry RFD, and Mama's Family. His name was Ken Berry, and he died at 85 from heart complications in 2018.

A Closer Look

From 1958 to 1964, Ken Berry, who was once married to actress/dancer Jackie Joseph, was with the "Billy Barnes Revue."

One night, Lucille Ball was in the audience, and later offered Berry a job at Desilu Studios for $50 a week. It was also through the Barnes Revue that Ken met Joseph, who he wed in 1960.

The couple adopted a son, John Kenneth, in 1964, and a daughter, Jennifer Kate, in 1965. That same year, Berry was cast in the military comedy half-hour, F-Troop.

Following that TV series, Berry was cast in Mayberry RFD, which premiered in the fall of 1969 as a rebooted version of The Andy Griffith Show.

In 1971, RFD was canceled right along with several country-geared TV shows like Petticoat Junction, and The Beverly Hillbilles.

Sometime later, Berry starred with Brooke Bundy in a TV-pilot spin-off of The Brady Bunch, titled, Kelly's Kids.

After the Kelly's pilot failed to become a series, Berry continued making TV guest appearances on shows like The Carol Burnett Show. In the 1980s, Berry was then cast in Mama's Family, the Burnett Show spin-off sitcom starring Vicki Lawrence.

Before and after his most famous roles, Berry also made other TV appearances on shows like The Dick Van Dyke Show, Dr. Kildare, Medical Center, and The Golden Girls.


Ken Berry will always be remembered and cherished by millions of TV fans around the world.

[Note: Unless otherwise indicated, certain facts and information in this article were resourced from various entertainment news and media outlets including,,,,, and]

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Herbie J Pilato is the author of several books about pop culture including RETRO ACTIVE TELEVISION, THE 12 BEST SECRETS OF CHRISTMAS, MARY: THE MARY TYLER MOORE STORY, TWITCH UPON A STAR, GLAMOUR, GIDGETS AND THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, DASHING, DARING AND DEBONAIR, and NBC & ME: MY LIFE AS A PAGE IN A BOOK, among others. He's also a TV writer/producer, and has worked for Reelz, Bravo, E!, TLC, and hosted THEN AGAIN WITH HERBIE J PILATO, the hit classic TV talk show (which premiered on Amazon Prime in 2019).

Los Angeles, CA

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