Thursday, July 5, 2012

Andy Griffith Dead at 86

We at Templar Digital, are sad to announced that The Great Actor Andy Griffith has died of an undisclosed illness on July 3rd, 2012

Say the name Andy Griffith, and you've said something about America. Griffith, who, as Sheriff Andy Taylor on the actor's namesake 1960s TV comedy, kept the peace, and represented a heartland ideal, died Tuesday, the actor's friend Bill Friday told WITN News. He was 86.

In addition to The Andy Griffith Show, Griffith created a darkly iconic character in the 1957 film, A Face in the Crowd, and won fans in the long-running whodunit series, Matlock. But, in the end, it was Mayberry that put him on the map. From 1960 to 1968, Griffith's kindly sheriff raised a son, Opie, played byRon Howard, and a high-strung deputy, Barney Fife, played by Don Knotts. That Taylor, a white lawman in the Civil Rights-era South, became a model of fairness was a tribute to the series.

Born June 1, 1926, in noplace else but North Carolina, Griffith tapped his country roots for laughs in a popular 1950s comedy monologue that begat TV appearances, which begat Broadway and film work, via the Army comedy No Time for Sergeants. Griffith traded on his aw-shucks persona as two-faced populist Lonesome Roads in Elia Kazan's A Face in the Crowd. Now considered a classic, the film "didn't make a dime" back in the day, its star once recalled. "I'd struck out on Broadway, and I'd struck out in the movies, so I kinda had to go to television," Griffith said in 2008.

From the start, The Andy Griffith Show, with its classic, catchy whistling theme, was an audience and critical favorite. Griffith, however, never won an Emmy for the series, nor was he ever nominated for it. Knotts, who won five straight Emmys as the fumbling Fife, would say people thought mistakenly that Griffith wasn't acting, that he was just acting natural. Griffith would return the compliment, saying the show owed its early success to Knotts, who died in 2006.

Among latter-day roles, Griffith rated Oscar buzz for playing the sage if exacting diner owner in 2007's Waitress, and stumped for President Barack Obama in a 2008 campaign ad directed by Howard, his TV son turned Oscar-winning filmmaker. (More controversially, he appeared in a 2010 TV ad that promoted the Obama-backed health-care law.)

In 2005, on the occasion of the actor receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom, then-President George W. Bush neatly defined the man and where he stood in the collective American consciousness: "TV shows come and go, but there's only one Andy Griffith."

Source: IMDB, E! Online

-Brian Lansangan
follow me on Twitter @MrSnugglenutz84

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