The correct spelling is B-E-E by the way. The spelling can be seen on a couple of episodes, color ones. When she had the Chinese Restaurant ("Aunt Bee's Restaurant" episode #209) and when she ran for council ("Politics Begin at Home" episode #200). The spelling can also be seen on the closing credits of almost every episode of TAGS.
Sure, Bee is short for Beatrice but she still spelled her name B-E-E. I guess if you can get Bill from the name William or Jim from James, you can get Bee from Beatrice.
Frances was born in New York City on December 14, 1902. She first appeared on Broadway in April 1925 in "The Poor Nut" and had a quite successful Broadway career.
Later she traveled with the USO to entertain the U.S. troops in the Pacific during World War II. Her last appearance on Broadway was in the 1951 play, "Point of No Return" starring Henry Fonda. It ran for 356 performances.
Her first movie was the 1951 sci-fi classic "The Day the Earth Stood Still". ( It should also be noted that "The Day the Earth Stood Still" was the first time Frances appeared with Olan Soule (Mayberry's Choir Director, John Masters). They were both boarders in the rooming house where the alien stayed.)
She made many movies during the 50's and appeared on TV as featured characters on shows like "It's a Great Life" and "The Eve Arden Show". Frances played Eve Arden's housekeeper who also cared for Arden's twin daughters.
Here is a picture of Francis' home in Siler City, NC supplied to me by my friend,Jim Schwenke of the Mayberry Texans Chapter in Houston
This information came from "The Bullet" Special Edition: A Salute to Frances Bavier.
Francis Bavier went to be with the Lord on December 6, 1989. She
was eighty-six. She is missed.