52 Facts About Andy Griffith


Andy Samuel Griffith was an American actor, comedian, television producer, southern gospel singer and writer whose career spanned seven decades in music and television.


Andy Griffith gained prominence in the starring role in director Elia Kazan's film A Face in the Crowd and No Time for Sergeants before he became better known for his television roles, playing the lead roles of Andy Taylor in the sitcom The Andy Griffith Show and Ben Matlock in the legal drama Matlock.


Andy Griffith was born on June 1,1926, in Mount Airy, North Carolina, the only child of Carl Lee Andy Griffith and his wife, Geneva.


In 1929, when Andy Griffith was three, his father began working as a helper or carpenter and purchased a home in Mount Airy's "blue-collar" south side.


Andy Griffith 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.


Andy 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.


Andy Griffith was delighted when he was offered a role in The Lost Colony by Paul Green, a play about Roanoke Island still performed today.


Andy Griffith 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, for whom North Carolina's capital is named.


Andy Griffith attended the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree in 1949.


Andy Griffith 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.


The monologue was released as a single in 1953 on the Colonial Records label, and was a hit for Andy Griffith, reaching number nine on the charts in 1954.


Andy Griffith expanded that role in Ira Levin's full-length theatrical version of the same name on Broadway in New York City.


Andy Griffith did win the 1956 Theatre World Award a prize given for debut roles on Broadway.


Andy Griffith later reprised his role for the film version of No Time for Sergeants; the film featured Don Knotts, as a corporal in charge of manual-dexterity tests, marking the beginning of a lifelong association between Andy Griffith and Knotts.


Andy Griffith was nominated for "Distinguished Musical Actor" at the 1960 Tony Awards, losing to Jackie Gleason.


Andy Griffith portrayed a US Coast Guard sailor in the feature film Onionhead.


In 1957, Andy Griffith made his film debut starring in the film A Face in the Crowd.


Andy Griffith plays a "country boy" who is manipulative and power-hungry: a drifter who becomes a television host and uses his show as a gateway to political power.


Andy Griffith expresses his belief that the film was more popular in more recent decades than it was when originally released.


In 1960, Andy Griffith appeared as a county sheriff, who was a justice of the peace and the editor of the local newspaper, in an episode of Make Room for Daddy starring Danny Thomas.


Andy Griffith was Taylor's cousin in the show at first, though later they dropped that cousin relationship and talked simply of knowing one another since boyhood.


Andy 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 Andy Griffith was never nominated for an Emmy Award during the show's run.


In 1967, Andy Griffith was under contract with CBS to do one more season of the show.


Andy Griffith served as executive producer and guest starred in five episodes.


Andy Griffith made final appearances as Taylor in the 1986 reunion television film, Return to Mayberry, with fellow co-star, Don Knotts.


Andy Griffith did win a People's Choice Award in 1987 for his work as Matlock.


Andy Griffith made other character appearances through the years on Playhouse 90, Gomer Pyle, USM.


Andy Griffith reprised his role as Ben Matlock on Diagnosis: Murder in 1997, and his final guest-starring role was in 2001 in an episode of Dawson's Creek.


For most of the 1970s, Andy Griffith starred or appeared in many television films, including The Strangers In 7A, Go Ask Alice, Winter Kill and Pray for the Wildcats, which marked his first villainous role since A Face in the Crowd.


Andy Griffith appeared again as a villain in Savages, a television film based on the novel Deathwatch by Robb White.


Andy Griffith appeared as The Father in a 1976 PBS television adaptation, directed by Stacy Keach, of Luigi Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author.


Andy Griffith appeared in several television miniseries, including the television version of From Here to Eternity, Roots: The Next Generations, Centennial, and the Watergate scandal-inspired Washington: Behind Closed Doors, playing a former president loosely based on Lyndon B Johnson.


Andy Griffith co-starred with Jeff Bridges as a crusty old 1930s western actor in the comedy Hearts of the West, and he appeared alongside Tom Berenger as a gay villainous colonel and cattle baron in the Western comedy spoof Rustlers' Rhapsody.


Andy Griffith appeared as an attorney in the NBC miniseries Fatal Vision, which is considered a precursor to his role in Matlock.


Andy Griffith stunned many unfamiliar with his A Face in the Crowd work in the television film Crime of Innocence.


Andy Griffith appeared as a comical villain in the spy movie spoof Spy Hard starring Leslie Nielsen.


The cast of Play the Game 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 on The Andy Griffith Show.


Griffith sang as part of some of his acting roles, most notably in A Face in the Crowd and in many episodes of both The Andy Griffith Show and Matlock.


Andy Griffith appeared in country singer Brad Paisley's music video "Waitin' on a Woman".


William Harold Fenrick of Platteville, Wisconsin, legally changed his name to Andrew Jackson Andy Griffith and ran unsuccessfully for sheriff of Grant County in November 2006.


Several years later, Knotts had a regular role on The Andy Griffith Show for five seasons.


Andy Griffith appeared in the pilot for Griffith's subsequent short-lived series, The New Andy Griffith Show, and he had a recurring role on Matlock, from 1988 to 1992.


Andy Griffith traveled from his Manteo, North Carolina, home to Los Angeles to visit the terminally ill Knotts at Cedars-Sinai just before Knotts died of lung cancer.


Griffith's friendship with child actor Ron Howard began in 1960 when they guest-starred in the episode of Make Room For Daddy that led to the formation of The Andy Griffith Show the same year.


Andy Griffith made a comedy cameo on the Saturday Night Live program of October 9,1982, hosted by Howard, who was, by then, in the early years of his directing career.


The spirit he created on the set of The Andy Griffith Show was joyful and professional all at once.


Andy Griffith felt he was always working in service of an audience he really respected and cared about.


In 2000, Andy Griffith appeared in a last-minute campaign commercial where he endorsed then-Attorney General Mike Easley for governor of the state of North Carolina.


In October 2008, Andy Griffith appeared with Ron Howard in a Funny or Die video endorsement for Barack Obama's presidential campaign.


In 1945, while a student at the University of North Carolina, Andy Griffith was initiated as a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, a national social music fraternity for men.


On July 3,2012, Andy Griffith died at his Roanoke Island home in Manteo, North Carolina, from a heart attack he had the day before; he was 86.