Andy Griffith, beloved Sheriff of Mayberry, has died
Andy Griffith, who charmed TV fans for seven years, as the gentle, soft-spoken widowed sheriff of Mayberry, Andy Taylor, died this morning at his Roanoke Island home in North Carolina.
Griffith's entree into acting was as a ruthless rising political powerhouse in the 1957 film A Face in the Crowd, which also starred, Patricia Neal, Walter Matthau, and Lee Remick. Griffith's character, Lonesome Rhodes, discovered in a drunk tank by a couple of talent scouts who use the media to launch his rise as a media star who eventually influences a presidential campaign.
A year later, Griffith brought his popular Broadway and TV role in the hilarious teleplay No Time for Sergeants to the silver screen in a movie by the same name (on order). Also starring in this film was Don Knotts; thus began a decades-long friendship with strong professional ties.
The Andy Griffith Show debuted in 1960. In addition to being the Sheriff, Griffith played devoted, wise single dad to motherless Opie, thus launching Ron Howard's long career in cinema, first as an actor, later as an award-winning director. Don Knotts was the hapless, goofy Deputy Sheriff Barney Fife.
Among Griffith's long filmography was a nine-year run as the wily, country lawyer, Ben Matlock, in Matlock.
Among Griffith's many awards was the 2005 Medal of Freedom, bestowed on him by President George W. Bush.
Griffith was 86 when he died.