RIP Andy Griffith: Beloved Actor and Gospel Musician Dies at 86

Categories: This Just In

Andy Griffith, the honey-drawling North Carolinian who spent decades on television as rural America's favorite sheriff and later a wily but folksy Atlanta lawyer, passed away Tuesday morning at age 86, according to E! Online. Former University of North Carolina president Bill Friday, a good friend of Griffith's, told Washington, N.C. TV station WITN that Griffith died about 7 a.m. this morning Eastern time at his home in nearby Dare County.

A lifelong musician, Griffith often sang and played guitar himself on The Andy Griffith Show, and gave real-life bluegrass group the Dillards a recurring role on the series (which ran from 1960-68) as a hillbilly family band called the Darlings. After his 1958 comedy album Just for Laughs -- which included his famous routine "What It Was, Was Football" -- he recorded the follow-up Shouts the Blues and Old Timey Songs, which Capitol Records released in 1959.

Much later, Griffith recorded a string of inspirational albums starting with 1996's Somebody Bigger Than You and I. The next one, I Love to Tell the Story: 25 Timeless Hymns, went platinum. He followed with two more, 1998's Just as I Am: Favorite Old Time Hymns and 2003's The Christmas Guest.

On a more personal note, Rocks Off has been a lifelong fan of Griffith's since I used to watch The Andy Griffith Show with my dad as a toddler, and later discovered his acting range as the cornpone demagogue "Lonesome" Rhodes in Elia Kazan's 1957 film A Face In the Crowd. No Time for Sergeants, the 1958 comedy based on Griffith's standup routine about life as an airman drafted into the Air Force, is still one of our favorite movies to this day.

Andy Griffith gave my dad and I a lot of laughs while we watched his show, and I'd like to think the frequent musical interludes -- often featuring Denver Pyle as the rascally leader of the Darling clan, long before Uncle Jesse -- had something to do with my continuing love of roots music.

So so long, Andy. See you 'round the fishin' hole.


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NCnative
NCnative

Andy Griffith never strayed far from his roots in North Carolina. He lived in the town of Manteo on Roanoke Island, where he started his acting career.  He lived a very low-profile, private life. He was very generous in his support of local causes, but didn't want anyone to know about it. You only heard about it through the local grapevine. The character of Andy Taylor was, in any ways, a personification of Andy Griffith.

Paula R. Robinson
Paula R. Robinson

Feel free to drop by and share your own memories of growing up with Mayberry. ..FoxGetPositionWork.blogspot.com

DWESSEL
DWESSEL

CANT BELIEVE ALL THIS TIME HAS PASSED SINCE I WAS LITTLE AND USED TO WATCH MAYBERRY, HE WAS A GREAT ACTOR! RIP

Brandt Hardin
Brandt Hardin

Andy brought small-town humor and life into the homes of every American through their television screens.  He’ll be missed after his long and full career of entertainment which still fills many households like my own family’s.  I created a portrait of Andy and Don Knotts for my Cult of Personality series a few years back, which depicted entertainers who influenced my life in one capacity or another.  I shared work of art today on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2012/07/in-memoriam-andy-griffith.html  Feel free to drop by and share your own memories of growing up with Mayberry. 

Gary
Gary

that what it says read it again u just reword what they say. No Time for Sergeants, the 1958 comedy based on Griffith's standup routine about life as an airman drafted into the Air Force

Stusnow1
Stusnow1

Thank you for this excellent piece. The "Andy Griffith Show." In reruns that show is better than 99% of the crap we call comedy sit-coms today. "No Time for Sergeants" IS a classic.

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