Andy Griffith Dead at 86

Flowers are placed on his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Flowers were placed Tuesday on the Hollywood Walk of Fame star of Andy Griffith, in memory of the legendary television star who introduced America to Mayberry and brought his famed Southern drawl to the characters of Sheriff Andy Taylor and country lawyer Ben Matlock.

Griffith, 86, died Tuesday morning at his home on Roanoke Island in North Carolina.

A television icon, Griffith was best known for starring in The Andy Griffith Show, the short-lived spinoff Mayberry R.F.D. and the long-running Matlock.

Actor/director Ron Howard, who played Sheriff Taylor's son Opie on The Andy Griffith Show, paid his respects via Twitter, writing that "his pursuit of excellence and the joy he took in creating served generations and shaped my life. I'm forever grateful. RIP Andy."

Griffith was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George Bush in 2005.

President Barack Obama was among those paying tribute to Griffith today, calling him "a performer of extraordinary talent" who "was beloved by generations of fans and revered by entertainers who followed in his footsteps."

"He brought us characters from Sheriff Andy Taylor to Ben Matlock, and in the process, warmed the hearts of Americans everywhere," Obama said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Andy's family."

Griffith was born in Mount Airy, N.C., a small town near the Virginia border where the population is around 10,000. The town was believed to be the inspiration for Mayberry, the fictional town that Griffith's Sheriff Andy Taylor patrolled on The Andy Griffith Show. The name Mayberry became synonymous with small-town America.

He earned a music degree at the University of North Carolina and taught high school music. After creating a traveling act with his first wife, Griffith appeared on Broadway in No Time for Sergeants, earning a Tony nomination. He continued working on Broadway before making his film debut in A Face in the Crowd.

He became a household name, however, with the debut of The Andy Griffith Show, which ran for eight years but has lived on for decades in reruns. He appeared in a series of films, but then made a triumphant return to television in the role of country lawyer Ben Matlock on Matlock,which ran from 1986 to 1995.

In addition to his acting, Griffith also had success as a recording artist, even winning a Grammy Award for best Southern gospel, country gospel or bluegrass gospel album for I Love to Tell the Story -- 25 Timeless Hymns.

"He was an immense talent and a true gift to the entertainment industry and will be greatly missed," said Neil Portnow, president/CEO of The Recording Academy. "We extend our deepest sympathies to his family, friends and fans."

Griffith, who was married three times, is survived by his wife Cindi Knight and two children from his first marriage.

Shaune Steele July 03, 2012 at 04:58 PM
He had a great movie career as well. Check "A Face in the Crowd" starring Andy, Patricia Neal, Lee Remick, directed by Elia Kazan. A powerful film where Andy Griffith was truly creepy and Lee Remick was a semi-slutty baton twirler. Fabulous flick. Hope his obits include his film career as well as television.


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