Andy Griffith
American actor
Andy Griffith
Andrew Samuel "Andy" Griffith was an American actor, director, producer, Grammy Award-winning Southern-gospel singer, and writer. He gained prominence in the starring role in director Elia Kazan's epic film, A Face in the Crowd (1957) before he became better known for his television roles, playing the lead characters in the 1960–68 situation comedy, The Andy Griffith Show, and in the 1986–95 legal drama, Matlock.
Biography
Andy Griffith's personal information overview.
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News
News abour Andy Griffith from around the web
William Christopher, Father Mulcahy On 'M.A.S.H.,' Dies At 84
Huffington Post - about 2 months
Actor William Christopher, who played Father Mulcahy on “M.A.S.H.,” died Saturday at his Pasadena, California, home from cancer, according to KABC. Christopher, 84, had a long career on stage and screen, with appearances in some of the most beloved TV series of the 1960s, including “The Andy Griffith Show,” “The Patty Duke Show,” “Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C.” and “Hogan’s Heroes.” The Illinois native also toured in 1997 with “M.A.S.H.” co-star Jamie Farr in a production of “The Odd Couple.”  But he is best known for his role on “M.A.S.H.” from 1972 to ‘83 and in its 1983-85 “AfterMASH spinoff,” a part that would define his career as he would later play similar characters.  He said the typecasting never bothered him. “Actors always expect that their job will end and then they are out of work,” he told PennLive in 2009. “It’s a lot more fun to be working than to be out of work.” Although it was a comedy set during the Korean War, “M.A.S.H.” was often viewed as a commentary on ...
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Huffington Post article
FACE IT: Which Movie Character Is Trump?
Huffington Post - 4 months
Movies reflect society and often revisit and revise history. Right now, as we watch the slow and ugly demise of a man we helped create, I am thinking of films that predicted we would get here. Before an official Donald Trump biopic is made, (Alec Baldwin in "American Horror Story, 2016") we should recall a few fictional movie characters that were there first: Howard Beale, the out-of-control anchorman who gets a "mad as hell" country revved up in "Network," and Chance Gardiner in "Being There," a grown man with the mind of a child, whose simplistic responses ("In a garden, growth has its season") somehow resonate with the powers that be. But as I listened to the "Access Hollywood" tape and learned of Trump's three a.m. tweetathon, my mind went back to one classic film character: Lonesome Roads, portrayed by Andy Griffith in "A Face In The Crowd." This dark and lacerating film, written by Budd Schulberg, is about a guitar-plucking, charming rogue, discovered by a savvy ra ...
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Huffington Post article
Arthur Miller's 'A View From The Bridge' Is A Cold War Political Allegory As Well As A Family Tragedy
Huffington Post - 5 months
Frederick Weller (center) in "'A View From the Bridge" at the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles Last year, the 100th anniversary of playwright Arthur Miller's birth, saw a remarkable revival of five of his plays. "A View From the Bridge" and "The Crucible" opened on Broadway. A staging of "Incident at Vichy" took place Off-Broadway. The New Yiddish Rep staged a Yiddish version of his most famous work, "Death of a Salesman" (with English subtitles). Miller's lesser-known play "Broken Glass" opened at the Westport Country Playhouse in Connecticut. Ivo van Hove's production of "A View From the Bridge" generated the most interest because of the unusual staging. It got rave reviews in London (winning the Olivier award) and had a similar reception last year in New York (winning the Tony award). That production recently opened at the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles and I saw it on Thursday night. I've seen the play at least five times and it is my third favorite among Miller's plays, ...
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Huffington Post article
Richard Linke, Andy Griffith’s Talent Manager, Dies at 98
NYTimes - 8 months
Mr. Linke brought some clients, who included actors like Andy Griffith and Jim Nabors, from relative obscurity to mainstream success.
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NYTimes article
Ron Howard's First Steps Into Becoming a Hollywood Director
Huffington Post - about 1 year
We were thrilled to have director and actor Ron Howard on the show, who's just released his newest film, In The Heart Of The Sea. Ron has had an amazing career in television and film, as both an actor and as an Academy Award-winning director. Ron chats about what made him want to direct this movie, how he prepared his actors, and the real secret for of being married 40 years. Ron's first steps towards becoming a Hollywood director Believe it or not, Ron's first step towards becoming a director actually happened while playing Opie on the Andy Griffith show. "On the 2nd episode of the 2nd season," a 7-year-old Ron Howard offered an acting suggestion to the director on how his character should say his line. The director took it, and it was there, on the first piece of professional advice he'd ever had taken, that Ron stood "frozen, and overjoyed" with the notion of affecting how stories were told. "It was so empowering," he recalls, and his infatuation grew from there. Aided by the fa ...
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Huffington Post article
Almost Everyone Was Wrong About 'Hee Haw'
Huffington Post - about 1 year
Hee Haw was a concept that nobody (including myself) thought would ever succeed. Some feared the proposed television program would set the burgeoning country music industry back 25 years. I had my trepidation, but had learned long before in this business that you say "yes" to everything, because most things never happen. My manager Jim Halsey and I agreed that doing the show wouldn't seriously damage my career. We assumed people would forget about it after its run of twelve episodes on CBS was over and hopefully also forgive me in the process. I'm happy to say that everyone was wrong--the TV and music executives, the television critics and me--everyone except for the American public. Nearly half a century later, Hee Haw continues to remain beloved and popular with its long-time fans and those who have discovered the program through reruns and DVD releases. Only last month, another new collection was released by Time/Life giving everyone a chance to see such legendary artists like Lor ...
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Huffington Post article
Ron Howard Says Obama's Leadership Has Been 'Sound,' He Supports Hillary Clinton In 2016 (VIDEO)
Huffington Post - over 3 years
Ron Howard was such a big supporter of President Barack Obama in 2008 that he teamed up with his former co-stars Andy Griffith and Henry Winkler to create an all-star campaign video. But now that Obama has had a few years in the Oval Office, what does the Academy Award-winner think of his performance? Howard is pretty pleased, he told HuffPost Live's Josh Zepps during a conversation about his work with Project Imaginat10n. "[Obama] was walking into a huge, huge challenge. Like a lot of people who read and care and follow, I can’t say that I agree with every decision, but I feel his leadership has been sound, I feel like the administration has worked in constructive ways and continues to," Howard said. "I certainly have no reservations of my having supported him." Howard said governing is hard for anyone when politicians go to partisan extremes, as the country saw with the recent federal government shutdown. The director said he champions a "militant middle" where people can come ...
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Huffington Post article
'Rush' review: A drama with, not about, racing
San Francisco Chronicle - over 3 years
There's a junkyard of movies - "Driven," "Days of Thunder," "Le Mans" - that faltered because filmmakers used their shiny, fast-moving automobiles as an excuse to ignore the story. The ego trips and sexuality and driving are all filmed with equal intensity, to the point where the emotions and flesh and crunched metal seem to blend together. "Rush" offers a brief background for each, focusing on the surprising similarities between the playboy Hunt and savant-like Lauda, who are both fearless drivers estranged from their families. The actor could have easily settled into a straight villain role, if he didn't offer regular clues to the humanity inside - many in the scenes with his lover, Marlene, portrayed with a believable dedication by Alexandra Maria Lara. Morgan writes choice crowd-pleasing scenes for both drivers, whether it's Lauda's awkward marriage proposal or Hunt's sexual conquests. For those whistling "The Andy Griffith Show" theme song before entering the theater, know t ...
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San Francisco Chronicle article
'Made In America,' TIFF: Ron Howard Talks Jay-Z Concert Doc At Toronto Film Fest Premiere
Huffington Post - over 3 years
“When you think hip-hop, you think Ron Howard,” Toronto International Film Festival programmer Thom Powers quipped as he introduced last night’s world premiere of "Made In America," the legendary filmmaker and actor’s documentary about the equally legendary hip-hop mogul Jay-Z’s Philadelphia music festival of the same name. Indeed, it seems like an odd combination at first. The man who won the hearts of audiences worldwide as Opie on "The Andy Griffith Show" and Richie Cunningham on "Happy Days" before moving on to direct massive films like "Apollo 13," "The Da Vinci Code" and "A Beautiful Mind" (even winning an Best Director Oscar for the latter) seems about as removed from the music scene celebrated in Jay-Z’s massive Philadelphia festival as you can get. Howard wasn’t even really a fan of hip-hop before taking on the project, although he’s at least been aware of the genre since the eighties thanks to his partner at Imagine Entertainment, Brian Grazer, who is a huge fan. It’s hard ...
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Huffington Post article
Pat Gallagher: Actress Who Played Thelma Lou Reminisces About Andy Griffith
Huffington Post - over 3 years
Actress Betty Lynn is 87. It's hard to believe that 'Thelma Lou' was born on Aug. 29, 1926! Who woulda' thought? Even though it has been 48 years since The Andy Griffith Show actress appeared as a regular on TAGS playing the sweet, mild-mannered girlfriend of our favorite bumbling deputy Barney Fife, reruns keep 'Thelma Lou' young in our minds and in our hearts. Lynn, who is one of the few remaining surviving TAGS cast members, is living a comfortable life these days in Mt. Airy, NC, birthplace and hometown of Andy Griffith. She has happily reunited with cast members over the years at the annual "Mayberry Days" which takes place in September each year in Mt. Airy. The greatest joy in Betty's life was playing Thelma Lou from 1960 to 1965. I had the great pleasure of covering the 50th Anniversary of The Andy Griffith Show in 2010 at the annual "Mayberry Days" event interviewing Betty, Karen Knotts (Don's daughter), Jim Nabors (Gomer Pyle), George Lindsey (Goober Pyle), E ...
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Huffington Post article
Reality TV's Most Popular Christians
Huffington Post - over 3 years
(RNS) A show capitalizing on Southern Christian stereotypes has snowballed into success, with faith and duck hunting creating a recipe for a ratings sensation on “Duck Dynasty.” The A&E show drew nationwide attention last week after its season premiere attracted 11.8 million viewers, becoming the most-watched reality premiere in history by topping series like “Jersey Shore” and “Jon & Kate Plus 8.” Put into perspective, the show drew more viewers than the highest viewed episodes of “Breaking Bad” and “Mad Men” combined, and would be the most-watched show if it aired on NBC. The show follows members of the extended Robertson clan, the family that runs the Duck Commander hunting supply company in Louisiana. During its inaugural season in 2008, the show attracted a mere 1.4 million viewers. The show is probably best known for the gun-toting Robertsons’ Southern drawl, unruly beards and camouflage wardrobe. But between TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting” and National ...
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Huffington Post article
Mount Airy Journal: Inspiring Mayberry, and Then Becoming It
NYTimes - over 3 years
Mount Airy, N.C., has adopted an identity created by a native son, Andy Griffith.     
Article Link:
NYTimes article
Ohio police department rips criminals in Facebook posts
Fox News - over 3 years
If you're up to no good in this pocket of northeast Ohio, especially in a witless way, you're risking not only jail time or a fine but a swifter repercussion with a much larger audience: You're in for a social media scolding from police Chief David Oliver and some of his small department's 51,000 Facebook fans. And Oliver does not mince words. In postings interspersed with community messages and rants, the Brimfield Township chief takes to task criminals and other ne'er-do-wells — his preferred term is "mopes," appropriated from police TV shows and an old colleague who used it — for the stupid, the lazy and the outright unlawful. Even an ill-considered parking choice can spur a Facebook flogging. "If you use a handicapped space and you jump out of the vehicle, all healthy-like, as if someone is dangling free cheeseburgers on a stick, expect people to stare at you and get angry," Oliver wrote last year. "You are milking the system and it aggravates those of us who play by the r ...
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Fox News article
David Browning: Classy Kids
Huffington Post - almost 4 years
On Saturday, I ventured out to Manhattan's 54 Below, site of several memorable performances in recent months, for the inaugural performance of Classical Concerts for Classy Kids. Your intrepid reporter is a staunch defender and advocate of music for kids, having studied music education as a callow youth, being a supporter of efforts like Education Through Music and VH1's Save the Music, and now in supporting efforts like Saturday's concert. Glen Roven, Emmy-winning composer, producer of quite a few successful recordings on GPR records (including several I've featured in the pages of Taminophile), and pretty darn astute businessman, has seen a market for this kind of event. Overall I think it's a great idea -- give kids (and the rest of us) listening tools for any piece of music, let alone a piece from classical music's Common Practice Era (roughly 1600-1900) -- and it was pretty well executed. (Right: Glen Roven. Photo © Ahron R. Foster, used with permission) The fo ...
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Huffington Post article
LOOK: DC Comics Reveals First Openly Transgender Character
Huffington Post - almost 4 years
DC Comics has introduced a new lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual (LGBT) friendly character: Alysia Yeoh, the transgender roommate of Batgirl. Comic fans were introduced to Alysia in "Batgirl" #19, which hit shelves on Wednesday, according to Wired. She is the first transgender character in mainstream comics, and she reveals that she is trans during a conversation with Barbara Gordon (Batgirl) in the pages of the new issue. The character is also bisexual. SCROLL FOR PHOTOS Writer Gail Simone told Wired she was inspired by the fans to develop a character like Alysia. "Why was this so impossible?" she asked herself at the time. "Why in the world can we not do a better job of representation of not just humanity, but also our own loyal audience?” Simone explained to Wired that breaking down barriers in the comic book world is a process. "[A]lmost all the tentpoles we build our industry upon were created over a half century ago… at a time where the characters wer ...
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Huffington Post article
Laurence Hughes: Smoke Signals: Secret Notes From Inside Conclave
Huffington Post - almost 4 years
According to Italian media reports, a diary has surfaced written by an anonymous cardinal who participated in the recent Vatican conclave. Here are some excerpts from this remarkable account, which offers unprecedented insight into this secret ancient ritual. How strange to be tasked with electing a new Pope while the old Pope still lives! This thought struck me as I passed near the pontiff's private apartments on my way to conclave--I could clearly hear Benedict singing The Angels Wanna Wear My Red Shoes in the papal shower. My brother cardinals and I gathered in the Sistine Chapel, where we would fulfill our sacred duty to elect the new pope. There were many warm greetings and happy reunions, though a certain cardinal from America received a distinctly chilly reception. Many of us were shocked that he was allowed to participate in conclave after he confessed to having a profile on ChristianMingle.com. As our first order of business, we enga ...
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Huffington Post article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Andy Griffith
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 2012
    Age 85
    Griffith died on July 3, 2012, from a heart attack at age 86 at his coastal home in Manteo, Roanoke Island, in Dare County, North Carolina.
    More Details Hide Details He was buried in the Griffith family cemetery on the island within five hours of his death. Longtime friend Nancy Stafford had called him on her mentor's 86th and final birthday, just one month before his death. In a statement, she said: "He sounded strong at the time, and so upbeat and completely sharp as a tack, as always," said Stafford, "I was shocked to find out barely a month later that he was gone."
  • 2010
    Age 83
    In July 2010, he also starred in advertisements about Medicare.
    More Details Hide Details In 1945, while a student at the University of North Carolina, Griffith was initiated as a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, a national social music fraternity for men.
  • 2008
    Age 81
    In addition to his online video with Howard in 2008, in politics Griffith favored Democrats and recorded television commercials endorsing North Carolina Governors Mike Easley and Bev Perdue.
    More Details Hide Details He spoke at the inauguration ceremonies of both. In 1989, he declined an offer by Democratic party officials to run against Jesse Helms, a Republican U.S. Senator from North Carolina.
    In October 2008, Griffith appeared with Ron Howard in a Funny or Die video endorsement for Barack Obama's presidential campaign.
    More Details Hide Details
    In October 2008, Griffith and Howard briefly reprised their Mayberry roles in an online video Ron Howard's Call to Action.
    More Details Hide Details It was posted to comedy video website Funny or Die. The video encouraged people to vote and endorsed Democratic candidates Barack Obama and Joe Biden. After Griffith's death, Howard stated: "His love of creating, the joy he took in it whether it was drama or comedy or his music, was inspiring to grow up around. The spirit he created on the set of The Andy Griffith Show was joyful and professional all at once. It was an amazing environment. And I think it was a reflection of the way he felt about having the opportunity to create something that people could enjoy. It was always with respect and passion for the opportunity and really what it could offer people in a very unpretentious and earthy way. He felt he was always working in service of an audience he really respected and cared about. He was a great influence on me. His passing is sad. But he lived a great rich life."
  • 2007
    Age 80
    On May 4, 2007, US District Court Judge John C. Shabaz ruled that Griffith/Fenrick did not violate federal trademark law because he did not use the Griffith name in a commercial transaction but instead in order "to seek elective office, fundamental First Amendment protected speech."
    More Details Hide Details The longest association that Griffith had, began in 1945 with an unfamiliar actor named R. G. Armstrong. They met when Armstrong was one of Griffith's and his first wife's students at UNC, where Armstrong majored in drama. After graduating from college, Armstrong went on to become a versatile character actor while attending The Actors Studio in New York City. In the 1960s, they were reunited in an episode of The Andy Griffith Show, with Armstrong playing a farmer who was the father of a tomboy. In the 1980s, Armstrong made a guest appearance in a two-part episode of Matlock, which was filmed in Wilmington, North Carolina, playing the role of a sheriff who introduces Matlock to a young, hotshot private investigator (played by an unknown Clarence Gilyard Jr.), whom Matlock hires at the end of the episode, after working on a case in Griffith's actual hometown. Griffith and Armstrong kept in contact.
  • 2006
    Age 79
    William Harold Fenrick of Platteville, Wisconsin, legally changed his name to Andrew Jackson Griffith and ran unsuccessfully for sheriff of Grant County in November 2006.
    More Details Hide Details Subsequently, actor Griffith filed a lawsuit against Griffith/Fenrick, asserting that he violated trademark, copyright, and privacy laws by changing his name for the "sole purpose of taking advantage of Griffith's fame in an attempt to gain votes."
  • 1996
    Age 69
    His most successful was the 1996 release I Love to Tell the Story: 25 Timeless Hymns, which was certified platinum by the RIAA. The album won Grammy Award for Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album at the 1997 Grammy Awards.
    More Details Hide Details Griffith appeared in country singer Brad Paisley's music video "Waitin' on a Woman" (2008).
  • 1995
    Age 68
    He further surprised audiences with his role as a dangerous and mysterious grandfather in 1995's TV-movie, Gramps co-starring John Ritter.
    More Details Hide Details He also appeared as a comical villain in the spy movie spoof Spy Hard (1996) starring Leslie Nielsen. In the television film A Holiday Romance (1999), Griffith played the role of "Jake Peterson". In the film Daddy and Them (2001), Griffith portrayed a patriarch of a dysfunctional southern family. In the feature film, Waitress (2007), Griffith played a crusty diner owner who takes a shine to Keri Russell's character. His last appearance was the leading role in the romantic comedy, independent film Play the Game (2009) as a lonely, widowed grandfather re-entering the dating world after a 60-year hiatus. The cast of Play The Game also included Rance Howard, Ron Howard's real-life father, who had made appearances in various supporting roles on The Andy Griffith Show, and Clint Howard, Ron's younger brother, who had the recurring role of Leon (the kid offering the ice cream cone or peanut butter sandwich) on The Andy Griffith Show.
  • FIFTIES
  • 1984
    Age 57
    He also appeared as an attorney in the NBC miniseries Fatal Vision in 1984, which is considered a precursor to his role in Matlock.
    More Details Hide Details Griffith stunned many unfamiliar with his A Face in the Crowd work in the television film Crime of Innocence (1985), where he portrayed a callous judge who routinely sentenced juveniles to hard prison time. Also noteworthy in Griffith's darker roles was his character in Under the Influence (1986), a TV-movie where Griffith played an alcoholic, abusive patriarch.
  • 1983
    Age 56
    He and Cindi Knight were married on April 12, 1983; they had met when he was filming Murder in Coweta County.
    More Details Hide Details Griffith's first serious health problem was in April 1983 when he was diagnosed with Guillain–Barré syndrome and could not walk for seven months because of paralysis from the knees down. On May 9, 2000, he underwent quadruple heart-bypass surgery at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in Norfolk, Virginia. After a fall, Griffith underwent hip surgery on September 5, 2007, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
  • 1977
    Age 50
    Two television films for NBC in 1977, The Girl in The Empty Grave and Deadly Game, were attempts for Griffith to launch a new series featuring him as Police Chief Abel Marsh, a more hard-edged version of Andy Taylor; despite strong ratings, both were unsuccessful.
    More Details Hide Details While appearing in television films and guest roles on television series over the next 10 years, Griffith also appeared in two feature films, both of which flopped at the box office. He co-starred with Jeff Bridges as a crusty old 1930s western actor in the comedy Hearts of the West (1975), and he appeared alongside Tom Berenger as a gay villainous colonel and cattle baron in the western comedy spoof Rustlers' Rhapsody (1985).
  • FORTIES
  • 1975
    Age 48
    Most of the TV movies in which Griffith starred were also attempts to launch a new series. Winter Kill (1974) launched the short-lived Adams of Eagle Lake, which was canceled in 1975 after only two episodes.
    More Details Hide Details A year later, he starred as a New York City attorney for the DA's office in Street Killing, which also failed to launch a new series.
  • 1968
    Age 41
    After leaving his still-popular show in 1968, and starting his own production company (Andy Griffith Enterprises) in 1972, Griffith starred in less-successful television series such as Headmaster (1970), The New Andy Griffith Show (1971), Adams of Eagle Lake (1975), Salvage 1 (1979), and The Yeagers (1980).
    More Details Hide Details After spending seven months in rehabilitation for leg paralysis from Guillain–Barré syndrome in 1983, Griffith returned to television as the title character, Ben Matlock, in the legal drama Matlock (1986–1995) on NBC and ABC. Matlock was a country lawyer in Atlanta, Georgia, who was known for his Southern drawl and for always winning his cases. Matlock also starred unfamiliar actors (both of whom were childhood fans of Andy Griffith) Nancy Stafford as Michelle Thomas (1987–1992) and Clarence Gilyard, Jr. as Conrad McMasters (1989–1993). By the end of its first season it was a ratings powerhouse on Tuesday nights. Although the show was nominated for four Emmy Awards, Griffith once again was never nominated. He did, however, win a People's Choice Award in 1987 for his work as Matlock. Griffith also made other character appearances through the years on Playhouse 90, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., The Mod Squad, Hawaii Five-O, The Doris Day Show, Here's Lucy, The Bionic Woman, and Fantasy Island, among many others. He also reprised his role as Ben Matlock on Diagnosis: Murder in 1997, and his most recent guest-starring role was in 2001 in an episode of Dawson's Creek.
  • 1967
    Age 40
    In 1967, Griffith was under contract with CBS to do one more season of the show.
    More Details Hide Details However, he decided to quit the show to pursue a movie career and other projects. The series continued as Mayberry R.F.D., with Ken Berry starring as a widower farmer and many of the regular characters recurring, some regularly and some as guest appearances. Griffith served as executive producer (according to Griffith, he came in once a week to review the week's scripts and give input) and guest starred in five episodes (the pilot episode involved his marriage to Helen Crump). He made final appearances as Taylor in the 1986 reunion television film, Return to Mayberry, and in two reunion specials in 1993 and 2003, with strong ratings.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1960
    Age 33
    From 1960 to 1965, the show co-starred character actor and comedian — and Griffith's longtime friend — Don Knotts in the role of Deputy Barney Fife, Taylor's best friend and comedy partner.
    More Details Hide Details He was also Taylor's cousin in the show. In the series premiere episode, in a conversation between the two, Fife calls Taylor "Cousin Andy", and Taylor calls Fife "Cousin Barney". The show also starred child actor Ron Howard (then known as Ronny Howard), who played Taylor's only child, Opie Taylor. It was an immediate hit. Griffith never received a writing credit for the show, but he worked on the development of every script. Knotts was frequently lauded and won multiple Emmy Awards for his comedic performances (as did Frances Bavier in 1967), while Griffith was never nominated for an Emmy Award during the show's run.
    Beginning in September 1960, Griffith starred as Sheriff Andy Taylor in The Andy Griffith Show for the CBS television network.
    More Details Hide Details The show took place in the fictional town of Mayberry, North Carolina, where Taylor, a widower, was the sheriff and town sage. The show was filmed at Desilu Studios, with exteriors filmed at Forty Acres in Culver City, California.
    In 1960, Griffith appeared as a county sheriff (who was also a justice of the peace and the editor of the local newspaper) in an episode of Make Room for Daddy, starring Danny Thomas.
    More Details Hide Details This episode, in which Thomas' character is stopped for running a stop sign in a little town, served as a backdoor pilot for The Andy Griffith Show. Both shows were produced by Sheldon Leonard.
  • 1957
    Age 30
    In 1957, Griffith made his film début, starring in the film A Face in the Crowd.
    More Details Hide Details Although he plays a "country boy," this country boy is manipulative and power-hungry, a drifter who becomes a television host and uses his show as a gateway to political power. The film was directed by Elia Kazan and written by Budd Schulberg and co-stars Patricia Neal, Walter Matthau, Tony Franciosa, and Lee Remick (in her film début as well). A 2005 DVD reissue of A Face in the Crowd includes a mini-documentary on the film, with comments from Schulberg and cast members Griffith, Franciosa, and Neal. In his interview, Griffith, revered for his wholesome image for decades, reveals a more complex side of himself. He recalls Kazan prepping him to shoot his first scene with Remick's teenaged baton twirler, who captivates Griffith's character on a trip to Arkansas. Griffith also expresses his belief that the film was far more popular and respected in more recent decades than it was when originally released.
    His only other New York stage appearance was the titular role in the 1957 musical, Destry Rides Again, co-starring Dolores Gray.
    More Details Hide Details The show, with a score by Harold Rome, ran for 472 performances and more than a year. Griffith was nominated for "Distinguished Musical Actor" at the 1960 Tony Awards, losing to Jackie Gleason. He also portrayed a US Coast Guard sailor in the feature film Onionhead (1958); it was neither a critical nor a commercial success.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1956
    Age 29
    He did win the 1956 Theatre World Award, however, a prize given for debut roles on Broadway. "Mr. Griffith does not have to condescend to Will Stockdale" (his role in the play), wrote Brooks Atkinson in The New York Times. "All he has to do is walk on the stage and look the audience straight in the face.
    More Details Hide Details If the armed forces cannot cope with Will Stockdale, neither can the audience resist Andy Griffith." Griffith later reprised his role for the film version (1958) of No Time for Sergeants; the film also featured Don Knotts, as a corporal in charge of manual-dexterity tests, marking the beginning of a lifelong association between Griffith and Knotts. No Time for Sergeants is considered the direct inspiration for the later television situation comedy Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.
  • 1953
    Age 26
    The monologue was released as a single in 1953 on the Colonial Records label, and was a hit for Griffith, reaching number nine on the charts in 1954.
    More Details Hide Details Griffith starred in Ira Levin's one-hour teleplay version of No Time for Sergeants (March 1955) — a story about a country boy in the United States Air Force — on The United States Steel Hour, a television anthology series. He expanded that role in Ira Levin's full-length theatrical version of the same name (October 1955) on Broadway in New York City. The role earned him a "Distinguished Supporting or Featured Dramatic Actor" nomination at the 1956 Tony Awards, losing to Ed Begley.
  • 1949
    Age 22
    Griffith and Barbara Bray Edwards were married on August 22, 1949, and they adopted two children: a son, Andy Samuel Griffith, Jr. (born in 1957 and better known as Sam Griffith) and a daughter, Dixie Nann Griffith. They were divorced in 1972. Sam, a real-estate developer, died in 1996 after years of alcoholism. His second wife was Solica Cassuto, a Greek actress. They were married from 1973 to 1981.
    More Details Hide Details
    He attended the University of North Carolina (UNC) in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree in 1949.
    More Details Hide Details He began college studying to be a Moravian preacher, but he changed his major to music and became a part of the school's Carolina Playmakers. At UNC, he was president of the UNC chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, America's oldest fraternity for men in music. He also played roles in several student operettas, including The Chimes of Normandy (1946), and Gilbert and Sullivan's The Gondoliers (1945), The Mikado (1948) and H.M.S. Pinafore (1949). After graduation, he taught music and drama for a few years at Goldsboro High School in Goldsboro, North Carolina, where he taught, among others, Carl Kasell. He also began to write. Griffith's early career was as a monologist, delivering long stories such as What it Was, Was Football, which is told from the point of view of a naive country preacher trying to figure out what was going on in a football game.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1944
    Age 17
    Mickey nurtured Griffith's talent throughout high school until graduation in 1944.
    More Details Hide Details Griffith was delighted when he was offered a role in The Lost Colony by Paul Green, a play about Roanoke Island still performed today. He performed as a cast member of the play for several years, playing a variety of roles, until he finally landed the role of Sir Walter Raleigh, the namesake of North Carolina's capital.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1929
    Age 2
    In 1929, when Griffith was three, his father began working as a carpenter and purchased a home in Mount Airy's "blue-collar" south side.
    More Details Hide Details Griffith grew up listening to music. By the time he entered school, he was well aware that he was from what many considered the "wrong side of the tracks". He was a shy student, but once he found a way to make his peers laugh, he began to come out of his shell and come into his own. As a student at Mount Airy High School, Griffith cultivated an interest in the arts, and he participated in the school's drama program. A growing love of music, particularly swing, would change his life. Griffith was raised Baptist and looked up to Ed Mickey, a minister at Grace Moravian Church, who led the brass band and taught him to sing and play the trombone.
  • 1926
    Born
    Griffith was born on June 1, 1926, in Mount Airy, North Carolina, the only child of Carl Lee Griffith and his wife, Geneva (Nunn).
    More Details Hide Details As a baby, Griffith lived with relatives until his parents could afford to buy a home. With neither a crib nor a bed, he slept in dresser drawers for several months.
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