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Andy Griffith

Andy GriffithAKA Andy Samuel Griffith

Born: 1-Jun-1926
Birthplace: Mt. Airy, NC
Died: 3-Jul-2012
Location of death: Manteo, NC
Cause of death: Heart Attack
Remains: Buried, Roanoke Island, NC

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Actor
Party Affiliation: Democratic

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Laconic sheriff on The Andy Griffith Show

As a young man, Andy Griffith studied for the ministry, then got a degree in music and taught high school for several years. During this time he worked up a comedy routine including his famous bit "What It Was, Was Football", about a country boy's misunderstandings as he watched his first football game.

With his comfortable southern drawl, Griffith was a natural to play PFC Stockdale, the hillbilly hick gone military in Ira Levin's play No Time for Sergeants. Griffith starred in the play in regional theater, in a live broadcast on ABC's The U.S. Steel Hour, on Broadway, and eventually in a well-received film adaptation (with Don Knotts in a supporting role). Griffith's first film was a dramatic turn that is still impressive: A Face in the Crowd, with Patricia Neal and Walter Matthau. Griffith played Lonesome Rhodes, and on the surface he was another hillbilly, but when Rhodes found fame he became a frightfully different man.

On The Andy Griffith Show, Griffith played Andy Taylor, an amiable sheriff in the quiet and overwhelmingly white Southern town of Mayberry. There was little crime for the sheriff to deal with, so most episodes revolved around Andy and his son Opie (Ron Howard), his Aunt Bee (Frances Bavier), and his bumbling deputy Barney Fife (Knotts). The show ran eight seasons, and spent all that time in the top ten, and it is now considered one of the best sitcoms of all time. Most of the Mayberry settings and several of its characters were based on Griffith's real-life home town, Mt. Airy, North Carolina. In one episode, the fictional Andy mentions once having a crush on a schoolgirl named Barbara Edwards. She was Griffith's wife.

Griffith's subsequent sitcoms included The Headmaster and The New Andy Griffith Show. He played another sheriff in the quickly-canceled mystery Adams of Eagle Lake, and ran a junk yard in Salvage 1. In the late '80s through mid-1990s he played Matlock, a deceptively laid-back southern attorney. It was very popular with older audiences who loved seeing Andy outsmart all those city-slicker lawyers, while younger audiences enjoyed its unintended camp value, featuring cheesy scripts and washed-up guest stars.

Father: Carl Griffith (furniture factory worker)
Mother: Geneva Griffith (homemaker)
Wife: Barbara Edwards (m. 1949, div. 1972, one son, one daughter)
Daughter: Dixie Griffith
Son: Andy Griffith Jr. (real estate developer, d. 1996 alcoholism)
Wife: Solica Cassuto (m. 1973, div. 1981)
Daughter: Nancy Griffith ("Nan")
Wife: Cindi Knight (m. 2-Apr-1983)

    High School: Mount Airy High School, Mt. Airy, NC (1944)
    University: BA Music, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1948)

    Endorsement of Shoney's
    John Kerry for President
    Phi Mu Alpha Fraternity
    Grammy 1997, for the gospel album I Love to Tell the Story: 25 Timeless Hymns
    Hollywood Walk of Fame 6420 Hollywood Blvd.
    Presidential Medal of Freedom 9-Nov-2005
    Heart Bypass Operation Quadruple (9-May-2000)
    Risk Factors: Guillain-Barré Syndrome

    Matlock Ben Matlock (defense attorney, 1986-95)
    Salvage 1 Harry Broderick (1979)
    The Andy Griffith Show Sheriff Andy Taylor (1960-68)

    Birth of the Living Dead (18-Oct-2013) · Himself
    Play the Game (5-Nov-2008) · Grandpa Joe
    Waitress (21-Jan-2007)
    Daddy and Them (6-Jun-2001)
    Spy Hard (24-May-1996) · Gen. Rancor
    Gramps (20-May-1995)
    Under the Influence (28-Sep-1986)
    Return to Mayberry (13-Apr-1986)
    Crime of Innocence (27-Oct-1985)
    Rustlers' Rhapsody (10-May-1985)
    Fatal Vision (18-Nov-1984)
    The Demon Murder Case (6-Mar-1983)
    Murder in Coweta County (15-Feb-1983)
    Murder in Texas (3-May-1981)
    From Here to Eternity (14-Feb-1979)
    Centennial (1-Oct-1978)
    Hearts of the West (4-Oct-1975) · Howard Pike
    Winter Kill (15-Apr-1974)
    Go Ask Alice (24-Jan-1973)
    Angel in My Pocket (2-Apr-1969)
    The Second Time Around (22-Dec-1961) · Pat Collins
    Onionhead (1-Oct-1958) · Al Woods
    No Time for Sergeants (29-May-1958) · Will Stockdale
    A Face in the Crowd (28-May-1957) · Lonesome Rhodes

Author of books:
I Appreciate It: My Life (2009, memoir)

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