Andy Griffith is best known for his starring roles in two very popular television series, "The Andy Griffith Show" (1960) and "Matlock" (1986). Griffith earned a degree in music from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In the 1950s, he became a regular on "The Ed Sullivan Show" (1948) and "The Steve Allen Plymouth Show" (1956). He was featured in the Broadway play "No Time for Sergeants" (1955) for which he received a Tony nomination, and he later appeared in the film version. His film debut was in the provocative and prophetic A Face in the Crowd (1957), in which Griffith gave a performance that has been described as stunning.
On "The Andy Griffith Show" (1960), Griffith portrayed a folksy small-town sheriff who shared simple heartfelt wisdom. The series was one of the most popular television series in history. It generated some successful spin-offs, and the original is still seen in reruns to this day. Griffith created his own production company in 1972, which produced several movies and television series. In 1981, he was nominated for an Emmy for his portrayal in Murder in Texas (1981) (TV). In 1983, Griffith was stricken with Guillain-Barre syndrome, but he recovered after rehabilitation. In 1986, he produced and starred in the very successful television series "Matlock" (1986). The series spawned numerous television movies as well. When he accepted the People's Choice Award for this series, he said this was his favorite role. Andy Griffith died at age 86 of a heart attack in his home in Dare County, North Carolina on July 3, 2012.
|Cindi Knight||(2 April 1983 - 3 July 2012) (his death)|
|Solica Casuto||(11 June 1975 - 1981) (divorced)|
|Barbara Griffith||(26 August 1949 - 16 October 1972) (divorced) 2 children|
Commonly plays the accoustic guitar and sings folk or gospel songs
Most all of his characters have a folksy, friendly personality
Often recounts classic stories and histories with a folksy point of view. These include: Romeo and Juliet, Cleopatra, and Christopher Colombus discovering America
Slow, Southern drawl
Gruff, gregarious voice
Suffered from Guillain-Barre Syndrome and couldn't walk for 7 months. 
His son, Andy Griffith Jr., died of alcoholism, in 1996.
On May 9, 2000, he successfully underwent a quadruple bypass surgery.
He was the Tuesday night host for CBS Radio's "Sears Mystery Theater" (1979). He was still Tuesday's host when it became "The Mutual Radio Theater" on Mutual Radio (1980).
Attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he earned a Bachelor's Degree in Music in 1949. He originally attended school to study to be a Moravian preacher before he changed his major. His social life in college included: President of UNC Men's Glee Club and membership in Alpha Rho Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the US' oldest music fraternity for men.
He recorded some albums of standup comedy, including one titled "Just for Laughs". Among his classic routines is "What It Was, Was Football", about a country bumpkin who witnesses his first football game.
Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith, pg. 195-196. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387
Andy Griffith's longest and most popular character role of Andy Taylor, on "The Andy Griffith Show" (1960), was ranked at number 8 in TV Guide's list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time", in Sunday, June 20th, 2004's issue.
Was twice nominated for Broadway's Tony Award: in 1956, as Best Supporting of Featured Actor (Dramatic) for "No Time for Sergeants," and in 1960 as Best Actor (Musical) for "Destry Rides Again."
During a 1959 performance of the Broadway musical "Destry Rides Again", in which Griffith starred opposite Dolores Gray, a small fire broke out backstage at the Imperial Theater. Although it was put out within a few minutes time, without causing any major damage, just enough smoke drifted toward the stage that there could have been a panic had not Griffith and Gray continued on with the scene as though nothing was happening. For their bravery, they were rewarded by the audience that night with a standing ovation and by the New York City Fire Comissioner with citations for heroism.
Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush on Tuesday November 9th, 2005. Other recipients were Frank Robinson, Muhammad Ali, General Richard Myers, Paul Rusesabagina, Carol Burnett, Aretha Franklin, Vint Cerf and his Internet co-developer Robert Kahn, Jack Nicklaus, Alan Greenspan, and former congressman G.V. "Sonny" Montgomery.
Was on same stage with Elvis Presley in "The Steve Allen Plymouth Show" (1956). It was Steve Allen's second show, after Allen piloted his debut, with more popular celebrities, Bob Hope, and others were in the debut and pilot, the previous week, and Allen's show skyrocketed in popularity.
The town of Mayberry on "The Andy Griffith Show" is based upon Andy Griffith's hometown Mount Airy, North Carolina. By the same token, the characters on the show will commonly mention the "sister city" of Mount Pilot. Mount Pilot does exist, but its true name is Pilot Mountain, and has the same basic geographical positioning to Mount Airy as Mayberry does to Mount Pilot. The towns in both reality and the series are about 15 miles apart. Both towns (in both universes) are north of Winston-Salem, North Carolina near the North Carolina and Virginia state borders.
He and Don Knotts were best friends from 1955 to Friday, February 24, 2006, when Don Knotts lost his life.
Actors Nancy Stafford, Clarence Gilyard Jr. and Daniel Roebuck were all said to be huge fans of their mentor's first series, "The Andy Griffith Show" (1960), as little children. Years later, all grown up, they both auditioned and won the roles alongside him on "Matlock" (1986), within a couple years of each other. Stafford replaced Linda Purl in 1987, Gilyard replaced Kene Holliday in 1989, before Roebuck replaced Gilyard, himself, in 1993.
Taught English at Goldsboro High School in Goldsboro, North Carolina for a period of time.
Before Andy's parents had purchased a house, he lived with relatives. Without a crib or bed, Andy slept in drawers for a few months, just a couple of years after he was born.
While attending high school, he looked up Ed Mickey, who was a minister at Grace Moravian Church, who was also a musical band leader, in the brass instruments, Ed Mickey taught Andy Griffith how to play the trombone, successfully.
Before becoming an actor, he was a comedian and a singer.
Graduated from Mount Airy High School in Mount Airy, North Carolina in 1944.
His decision to end "The Andy Griffith Show" (1960), in 1968, led him to a contract with Universal Studios, where he pursued a movie career.
After a fall, he underwent successful hip surgery, on Wednesday, September 5th, 2007.
Inducted into the Christian Music Hall of Fame and Museum in 2007.
At least five actors and actresses named him as their favorite actor or comedian: Jack Dodson, Aneta Corsaut, Betty Lynn, Arlene Golonka and Don Knotts, all guest-starred with him on "Matlock" (1986).
On the longer-running and more popular "The Andy Griffith Show" (1960), Ron Howard co-starred as his son, "Opie Taylor". Ron Howard's biological mother, Jean Speegle Howard, guest-starred in one episode, "Matlock: The Doctors (#1.24)" (1987), of Griffith's second long-running show, "Matlock" (1986), in 1987.
Has a long association with ex-"The Andy Griffith Show" (1960) co-star, Ron Howard, before and after the show's cancellation. Howard guest-starred on an episode of Griffith's short-lived series, "Headmaster" (1970) in 1970, and he hosted "Saturday Night Live" (1975) in 1982, when Andy made a surprised appearance as Andy Taylor.
Friends with: Shirley Jones, Danny Thomas, Don Knotts, Dick Van Dyke, Bill Bixby, Gavin MacLeod, Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, David Carradine, Dick Van Patten and wife Pat Van Patten and sister Joyce Van Patten, Rance Howard, Jack Dodson, Dabbs Greer, Betty Lynn, Aneta Corsaut, Mitchell Laurance, Arlene Golonka, R.G. Armstrong, Hal Smith, George Lindsey, Denver Pyle, Jim Nabors, Fred Silverman, Dean Hargrove, Sheldon Leonard, Roddy McDowall, Walter Matthau and Patricia Neal.
In 2010, he appeared in a series of TV commercials advocating for the Health Care Reform bill proposed by President Barack Obama. The commercials were withdrawn after Griffith received hundreds of death threats from opponents of the bill.
Griffith's album, "I Love to Tell the Story: 25 Timeless Hymns" won the 1997 Grammy Award for Best Southern Gospel, Country Gospel or Bluegrass Gospel Album.
Andy recorded a speaking role in Brad Paisley's song, "Waitin' on a Woman", about a old man imparting romantic advice to Brad. Griffith played the role for an accompanying music video.
Unlike Lucille Ball and Jackie Gleason, Griffith disliked the idea of using a studio audience for his own sitcom, "The Andy Griffith Show" (1960), because he felt it would give him and his co-stars pressure to deliver their one-liners, so the series was filmed almost like a movie allowing for the actors to have quiet scenes and for the fictional town of Mayberry to feel like a real place.
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6148 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
An old friend Dick Van Dyke guest-starred on the debut pilot episode of "Matlock" (1986). Years later, Van Dyke reunited with Griffith on "Diagnosis Murder" (1993), where Griffith kept his role as Ben Matlock.
Within five hours of his death, he was buried in the Griffith Family Cemetery on the island of Manteo, North Carolina.
Died just 5 days before Ernest Borgnine.
His mother introduced him to playing the guitar.
Andy Griffith passed away on July 3, 2012. Just 24 days after his death, his longtime colleague, actor R.G. Armstrong, passed away. They were best friends for over 65 years.
Began writing when he was age 15.
After his role on Play the Game (2009), he retired from acting at age 83.
His hobbies included golfing, fishing, playing guitar, politics, boat rowing, singing, Bible and reading.
At Mt. Airy High School, he fell in love with performing arts and participated in school plays.
Childhood friend of Emmett Forrest.
His decision to end "Matlock" (1986), in 1995, was because he wanted to spend more time with his family. He would reprise his role one more time, with Dick Van Dyke, in a 2 part episode of "Diagnosis Murder" (1993) in 1997.
Had auditioned for and won the leading role of 'The Carolina Playmakers,' while attending college.
Was the only actor to appear in all 195 episodes of "Matlock" (1986).
His first wife Barbara Edwards was a dancer, a singer and soprano.
His mother, Geneva Nunn Griffith, was a housewife and caregiver, and his father, Carl Lee Griffith, was a carpenter.
His parents, Geneva Nunn and Carl Lee Griffith, were married in late 1918, just shortly after World War I. The couple had Andy 8 years later.
Met Dick Van Dyke in 1954, in New York City. They become friends for over 55 years.
His comedy record, "What it was, Was Football", sold more than 900,000 copies in 1953.
Before he was a successful actor, he worked at various nightclubs in New York City, playing music and doing acting.
Played the same character, Andy Taylor, five times on four different shows and one movie: "Make Room for Daddy" (1953), "The Andy Griffith Show" (1960), "Gomer Pyle: USMC" (1964), "Mayberry R.F.D." (1968) and Return to Mayberry (1986) (TV).
Was the only actor to appear in all 249 episodes of "The Andy Griffith Show" (1960).
Relocated to Manteo, Roanoke Island, North Carolina, from 1983 to 2012.
Before he was a successful actor, he used to sweep the schools, where he got paid $6 a month.
He commuted from his coastal home in North Carolina to Los Angeles every weekend for the first 6 years while starring in "Matlock" (1986) on NBC.
An only child.
He purchased his first trombone at age 15.
Survived by his wife, Cindi Knight, of 29 years and 1 daughter.
Was a staunch Democrat.
After Brandon Tartikoff saw him in Fatal Vision (1984) (TV), he called Dean Hargrove and Fred Silverman to suggest hiring Griffith for the lead role in "Matlock" (1986), which was his comeback to television after 18 years.
After his relocation to Manteo, Roanoke Island, North Carolina, he met his third and final wife, Cindi Knight, in the play 'The Lost Colony.'.
[on his off-camera relationship with Frances Bavier, who played Aunt Bee] There was just something about me she did not like.
[How he valued Don Knotts as an actor/best friend]: I loved Don. There was no one like him.
[For making Chapel Hill, which is where he went to college, proud of him]: I am proud of my connections to Carolina and pleased to know that some results from a lifetime of work on television, film, stage and recordings will have a permanent home in Chapel Hill.
I was baptized alongside my mother when I was 8 years old. Since then, I have tried to walk a Christian life, ... And now that I'm getting older, I realized that I'm walking even closer with my God.
I still play that guitar. It's a Martin D-18 with a clear pick guard. I've played that guitar on and off my TV shows for nearly 50 years.
[When he used a televangelist as his model]: I did an impression of Oral Roberts, and near the end, I took Elia Kazan's head in my hands, and I healed him, I walked out of that restaurant with the part.
[on filming a 2-part "Matlock" (1986) episode in his hometown]: During all the years of the old Griffith show I tried to talk them into filming something in North Carolina, but they said, 'Why? They already think you're in North Carolina anyway.'
[on being released from Universal Studios - while being typecast as Andy Taylor]: I wanted to prove that I could play something else, but there were 249 episodes out there of 'Mayberry,' and it was aired every day. It was hard to escape.
If you think and feel what you're supposed to think and feel, hard enough, it'll come out through your eyes - and the camera will see it.
(January 2003) Retired and living in Manteo, North Carolina.
(2003) Released Christmas CD of songs/stories.
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