LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actor Andy Griffith, whose portrayal of a small-town sheriff made “The Andy Griffith Show” one of American television’s most enduring programs, died on Tuesday at his North Carolina home. He was 86.
Following are some key facts about Griffith:
- Andrew Samuel “Andy” Griffith was born on June 1, 1926, in Mount Airy, North Carolina. He attended Mount Airy High School and went to college to study music at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
- Griffith rose to prominence in Elia Kazan’s 1957 film “A Face In The Crowd,” playing Larry “Lonesome” Rhodes.
- He became the star of the CBS comedy “The Andy Griffith Show” in 1960, where he played Sheriff Andy Taylor until the show ended in 1968.
- Griffith and Frances Bavier, who played kindly Aunt Bee on “The Andy Griffith Show,” did not get along. “There was just something about me she did not like,” he once said.
- Mayberry, the setting for “The Andy Griffith Show,” was believed to be based on Griffith’s hometown of Mount Airy, but the actor denied it in 1992 on a special reunion show.
- Griffith donated career memorabilia, including scripts, personal letters, and TV and film footage, to his alma mater, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
- Griffith and Don Knotts first met when Griffith was starring in “No Time for Sergeants” on Broadway and Knotts had a small role in the play. They also were in the movie version of the play before Griffith suggested Knotts for the role of Barney Fife on “The Andy Griffith Show.”
- Griffith returned to television in 1986 as attorney Benjamin Matlock in the legal drama “Matlock,” which aired on NBC and later on ABC. The show concluded in 1995.
- President George W. Bush awarded Griffith the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005.
Writing by Bill Trott, additional reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Eric Beech