Andy Griffith dies at age 86

Andy Griffith died at the age of 86 about 7 a.m. at his coastal home in Manteo, Dare Country on Tuesday. The well known television actor Griffith whose comedy show titled “The Andy Griffith Show” was very popular. Another long-running series “Matlock” aired from 1986 through 1995 was also widely appreciated. He played the role of a cagey attorney in the show.

Griffith is known for his role on stage, films and television. Griffith was born in 1926 (click here, Griffith Profile). He is a music graduate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He started with a career in the ministry but soon migrated to high school music teaching job which he got in Goldsboro. After continuing high school music teaching for few years he moved into entertainment career with a traveling act with his first wife, Barbara Edwards. He gave regular appearances on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” He got the Tony nomination for his Broadway play “No Time for Sergeants” in 1955. He was also part in the film version of this play. Another nomination for Tony awards came in 1960 for his play “Destry Rides Again.” His film debut was “A Face in the Crowd.” It is also noticeable that “The Andy Griffith Show” was discontinued when it was on top of ratings. There are only two other series (“I Love Lucy” and “Seinfeld”) which was off air while on top. Griffith explained the reason for discontinuing. He said, “because I thought it was slipping, and I didn’t want it to go down further.”

Griffith first married to Barbara Edwards which ended in 1972 after divorce. He re-married in 1976 but got a divorce again after 5 years. He married to third and current wife Cindi Knight in 1983. He has two children from his first wife. Third child died at the age of 36 because of some medical problem.

Griffith won a Grammy in 1997 for his album of gospel music “I Love to Tell the Story — 25 Timeless Hymns.”

Griffith got the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005 for “demonstrating the finest qualities of our country and for a lifetime of memorable performances that have brought joy to millions of Americans of all ages.”

Griffith suffered a muscular disease Guillain-Barre syndrome in 1983 but recovered. He underwent quadruple bypass surgery in 2000. This was followed by a hip surgery in 2007.

His fans, friends and family members are giving condolences.

US president Barack Obama said, “A performer of extraordinary talent, Andy was beloved by generations of fans and revered by entertainers who followed in his footsteps.”

Oscar-winning director of “A Beautiful Mind” Ron Howard who played Griffith’s son, Opie Taylor, on “The Andy Griffith Show twitted, “Andy Griffith. His pursuit of excellence and the joy he took in creating served generations & shaped my life I’m forever grateful. RIP Andy.”

Gov. Beverly Perdue said, “North Carolina has lost its favorite son.” She added, “Throughout his career, he represented everything that was good about North Carolina: a small town boy and UNC graduate who took a light-hearted approach to some of the attributes he grew up with and turned them into a spectacularly successful career.” According to her, “And regardless of where that career took him, he always came back to North Carolina and spent his final years here.”

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