Andy Griffith, born on June 1, 1926 in Mt. Airy, North Carolina died this morning at 86 years of age. For decades Griffith has been known and loved in homes and families across the country. This singer, actor and storyteller is best known for his roles as Sheriff Andy Taylor in “The Andy Griffith Show” and as the title character in TV’s legal drama “Matlock”.
Griffith considered himself a musician first and foremost. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1949 with a degree in music. Upon moving to New York, Griffith became a regular on “The Steve Allen Show” and “The Ed Sullivan Show” during the 1950s. Griffith also starred in a number of Broadway shows, earning two Tony nominations for “No Time for Sergeants” in 1955 and “Destry Rides Again” in 1960.
“The Andy Griffith Show” ran from 1960 to 1968 and is still considered by most critics to be one of the top five sitcoms ever ran on television. Sheriff Andy used a kind and heartfelt approach to help his small town and his young son (played by young Ron Howard) to learn valuable life lessons and overcome difficulties. Sheriff Andy was always ready with a listening ear, a laugh and sometimes even a song. Although Griffith used his own production company to attempt to revise his character in 1972 with “The New Andy Griffith Show”, the show was cancelled after only one year.
Griffith’s other best known role is as the title role in “Matlock”, a television legal drama that aired from 1986 until 1995. He has also appeared in a scattering of films and television shows over the years. Continuing his music roots, his album “I Love to Tell the Story: 25 Timeless Hymns” won him a Grammy Award in 1997 for best southern country or bluegrass gospel album.
We recently mourned the loss of Griffith’s costar actor George Lindsey who played the loveable Goober Pyle on “The Andy Griffith Show.” Lindsey and Griffith were dear friends and spoke only days before Lindsey’s death this last May.
Griffith has been married three times during the course of his life and has remained married to his third wife Cindi since they were wed in 1983. She was by his side at their home as he peacefully slipped away at 7:00 this morning. His wife released a statement earlier today: "Andy was a person of incredibly strong Christian faith and was prepared for the day he would be called Home to his Lord. He is the love of my life, my constant companion, my partner, and my best friend. I cannot imagine life without Andy, but I take comfort and strength in God’s Grace and in the knowledge that Andy is at peace and with God.”
We tip our hat to America’s Favorite Sheriff and thank him for his years of entertainment, life lessons and his easy smile. Thanks for the good times, Sheriff Andy!
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