Happy birthday Andy Griffith!

Andy-Griffith

 

Andy Griffith (June 1, 1926 – July 3, 2012) was an American actor, television producer, and gospel singer, best known for starring in The Andy Griffith Show and Matlock. Griffith made his television debut as a guest monologist on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1954, and made his film debut in A Face in the Crowd (1957), directed by Elia Kazan. Early in his career, Griffith and fellow southern actor Don Knotts were frequent guest on the NBC variety series, The Steve Allen Show. His small role on Make Room for Daddy led to his own sitcom, The Andy Griffith Show, in which he played Sheriff Andy Taylor. During its eight-year run, the show was one of the most popular sitcoms on air.

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Although Griffith entered college at UNC Chapel Hill with the intention of becoming a preacher, he soon became more involved with drama and musical theatre than his pre-divinity studies. He married fellow student Barbara Edwards, and they developed a traveling performance routine which involved singing, dancing, and comedic monologues. One of these monologues, "What It Was Was Football" was released commercially in 1953 (four years after graduation) and became an incredibly successful comedy record.

Soon after, the couple moved to New York and Griffith appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. Within a few years, Griffith had established himself as a gifted comedic actor, and appeared as a thoughtful small-town mayor on Danny Thomas' show, Make Room for Daddy. This led to the CBS sitcom, The Andy Griffith Show, which costarred Don Knotts as his deputy sheriff, and a young Ron Howard as Griffith's son.

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Andy Griffith and Don Knotts 

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Publicity photo of Andy Griffith and Ron Howard from 'The Andy Griffith Show'.

The Andy Griffith Show ran for eight years, after which Griffith appeared in several feature films as well as television shows which tried to replicate the success of his sitcom, including The New Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry, R.F.D. A few years later, Griffith started his own production company, Andy Griffith Enterprises, which produced TV movies.

In 1983, Griffith was quite suddenly affected by Guillen-Barre syndrome, which left him partially paralyzed for three months. However, he recovered fully after six months of rehabilitation, and went on to star in the primetime courtroom drama, Matlock. He served as an executive producer and story supervisor, and reprised the same role in a series of made-for-TV movies. Throughout his career, Griffith was an enthusiastic gospel performer, and released several albums of worship music, the last of which was completed in 2005. Griffith died on July 3, 2012, at the age of 86, at his home in North Carolina.

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Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Sunday, 01 June 2014
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