July 3rd, 2012
01:36 PM ET

Andy Griffith: A life remembered

Actor Andy Griffith, the friendly face who played across people's living rooms as Sheriff Andy Taylor on "The Andy Griffith Show" and Ben Matlock on "Matlock," has died at the age of 86, Sheriff J.D. "Doug" Doughtie of Dare County, North Carolina, said Tuesday.

Did he bring a smile to your face or warmth to your heart? Did you get to meet him? Share your images of you meeting Griffith or send us a fan video with your ode to the actor on CNN iReport. The best stories could be part of CNN's coverage.

Here's a look at Griffith's timeline and body of work:


■ Name: Andrew Samuel Griffith

■ Birth date: June 1, 1926

■ Birth place: Mount Airy, North Carolina

■ Parents: Carl Lee, a carpenter, and Geneva (Nunn) Griffith

■ Marriages: Cindi (Knight) Griffith (1983 – present)

Solica Cassuto (1973 – 1981, divorced)

Barbara Edwards (1949 – 1972, divorced)

■ Children: Adopted with Edwards: Andrew Samuel Jr. (1957 – 1996)

Dixie Nan (1960)

■ Education: University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, B.A., 1949

■ 1960 – 1968: Star of "The Andy Griffith Show" as Sheriff Andy Taylor

■ 1986 – 1995: Plays seersucker suit-wearing lawyer Ben Matlock in "Matlock"

■ Emmy, Grammy and People's Choice Award winner

Other Facts:

■ The town Mayberry in "The Andy Griffith Show" is based on Mount Airy, North Carolina, Griffith's hometown.

■ In 1983, Griffith is stricken with Guillain-Barre syndrome and is partially paralyzed, but mostly recovers after rehabilitation.

■ In 2000, he suffers a heart attack and undergoes quadruple bypass surgery.

Career Highlights:

■ 1949-1953: High school music teacher in Goldsboro, North Carolina

■ 1953: Tours the Carolinas in a station wagon, performing routines for clubs, conventions and clambakes. One of the monologues, called "What It Was, Was Football," is released commercially, selling more than 800,000 copies.

■ 1954: Makes his debut on "The Ed Sullivan Show" as a monologist

■ 1950s: Is a regular on "The Ed Sullivan Show" and "The Steve Allen Show"

■ 1956: Is nominated for a Tony Award for Supporting Actor for his 1955 role in "No Time For Sergeants." He later appears in the film version.

■ 1957: Makes his film debut in "A Face in the Crowd"

■ 1960: Receives a Tony Award nomination for Best Actor for his 1959 role in "Destry Rides Again"

■ 1960-1968: Plays Sheriff Andy Taylor on "The Andy Griffith Show," which ranks in the top 10 in each of its eight prime-time seasons

■ 1972: Griffith creates his own production company

■ 1981: Nominated for an Emmy for his role in the made-for-television movie "Murder in Texas"

■ 1986-1995: Produces and stars in the TV series "Matlock," and receives a People's Choice Award in 1987

■ 1996: Wins a Grammy Award for Best Southern Gospel, Country Gospel or Bluegrass Gospel Album for "I Love to Tell the Story–25 Timeless Hymns"

■ September 2005: Donates memorabilia from his 55+ year career to his alma mater, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

■ November 2005: Is presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom

■ November 3, 2006: Sues a Wisconsin man who changed his name to Andy Griffith just before (unsuccessfully) running for sheriff. In May 2007, a federal judge dismisses the suit, saying that copyright and trademark laws were not violated.

■ 2010: 50th anniversary of "The Andy Griffith Show." The Andy Griffith Show Museum opens in Mount Airy, North Carolina.

Major Awards:

Emmy Awards (1 nomination)

■ 1981: Nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or a Special for "Murder in Texas"

Grammy Awards (1 win/3 nominations)

■ 1959: Nominated for Best Comedy Performance – Spoken Word for "Hamlet"

■ 1996: Wins for Best Southern Gospel, Country Gospel or Bluegrass Gospel Album for "I Love To Tell The Story – 25 Timeless Hymns"

■ 1999: Nominated for Best Southern Gospel, Country Gospel or Bluegrass Gospel Album for "Just As I Am"


"A Face in the Crowd," 1957

"No Time for Sergeants," 1958

"Onionhead," 1958

"The Second Time Around," 1961

"Angel in My Pocket," 1969

"Go Ask Alice, 1972

"Strangers in 7A," 1972

"Pray for the Wildcats," 1974

"Savages," 1974

"Winter Kill," 1974

"Hearts of the West," 1975

"Street Killing," 1976

"Washington: Behind Closed Doors," 1977

"Deadly Game," 1977

"The Girl in the Empty Grave," 1977

"Roots: The Next Generations," 1979

"Salvage," 1979

"Murder in Texas," 1981

"For Lovers Only," 1982

"The Demon Murder Case," 1983

"Murder in Coweta County," 1983

"Fatal Vision," 1984

"Crime of Innocence," 1985

"Rustlers' Rhapsody," 1985

"Diary of a Perfect Murder," 1986

"Return to Mayberry," 1986

"Under the Influence," 1986

"Matlock: The Vacation," 1992

"The Gift of Love," 1994

"Gramps," 1995

"Spy Hard," 1996

"Scattering Dad," 1998

"Holiday Romance," 1999

"Daddy and Them," 2001

"Who Stole Santa's Sack?" 2006

"Waitress," 2007

"Christmas is Here Again," 2008

"Play the Game," 2009


"Andy Griffith: I Love to Tell the Story," 1998

"Andy Griffith: Just as I Am," 1999

"Andy Griffith: Honesty," 2000

"Integrity," 2000

"Christmas Guest," 2003

"Bound for the Promised Land," 2005

More on Andy Griffith:

Town invests in Andy Griffith

The South: Not all Bubbas and banjos

soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Susan Hodges Grant

    My dad's family is from Mount Airy, NC, the birthplace of Andy Griffith as well as the place "Mayberry" is based upon. My dad died when i was six months old and I grew up watching The Andy Griffith Show and thinking that if my dad were alive, he would be just like Sheriff Andy Taylor. Today I shed tears thinking of the TV father I now lost. May his family find comfort in knowing he touched many lives.

    July 3, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Uma

      what a sweet sentiment, Susan. I also love that show so much. It makes me happy. It's like visual comfort food.

      July 3, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Maddy Gascar

    I liked Andy Griffith a lot...RIP, Sheriff Andy.

    July 3, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  3. juliusbrowser

    C'mon everybody! Pucker up and whistle the tune!

    July 3, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  4. henry

    Andy's real name is Andy Samuel Griffith not Andrew as posted in your facts.

    July 3, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    We'll miss you Andy Griffith. Your life has always been like a living testament as an ambassador of good will to this country. Everything you ever said and done was always from the light of heaven above. May you Rest In Peace.

    July 3, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    To me, I will always remember him as Will Stockdale in "No Time for Sergeants" and as the country boy narrator of "What it was, was Football". I also remember him as Sheriff Andy from his introduction in an episode from the old "Danny Thomas Show" before the Andy Griffith Show. Now he joins Don Knotts, Frances Bavier, George Lindsay, Howard McNear, and others from the show who have gone on before him.

    July 3, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Hwy 9

    I have so much respect for Andy Griffith – great guy, great actor, cared about his kids and other people's kids, too. He wore his celebrity modestly, and wasn't arrogant or too good to speak to anybody not in the business. He was someone to emulate. And, the role of Sheriff he played on television was the exact opposite of that Sheriff in AZ – you know the one – I won't mention him in this post because it would ruin it. God Bless Andy.

    July 3, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. David Hoffman

    My best memory of The Andy Griffith Show is when Opie is saving money for a gift for a poor child who needs a good coat. Andy, not knowing about Opie's secret plan, thinks he is being selfish with his wealth. When Opie finally tells his plan to Andy, Andy realizes that his lack of faith in Opie's true good nature was unwarranted. The situation only arose because Andy failed to ask Opie the correct questions about what Opie was going to do witjh the money Opie had.

    July 3, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Rascal Rabble

    yes indeedee I love Andy Griffin...it would be really nice if some movie channel run a marathon of his movies...dang...all the old heads ate checkin' out...

    July 3, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Lee

    Grew up watching The Andy Griffith Show reruns. My buddies and I would always laugh talking about the shows. Lot of great memories about a time when life was much simpler. Sitting on the porch, playing the guitar, making homemade ice cream. Thank you Andy Griffith.

    July 3, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  11. myrtle

    Love the characters he played, although have no idea about the real man - seems like a very upstanding person. Very sad that he has passed on - lots of good memories of watching Mayberry and all the other shows he's graced. RIP.

    July 3, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. hillbillynwv

    I work in the hometown of Don Knotts and will be driving through the hometown of Andy Griffith on the way to the beach this weekend. Both men were great actors. R.I.P. Andy, thanks for the memories.

    July 3, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Floyd The Barber

    Having to eat all of Aint Bea's pickles because they lied about how good they are.
    Classic tv.

    July 3, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Floyd The Barber

    No time for sargeants was a great movie.
    Best part was when his commanding officer comes to inspect the bathroom
    all of the toilet seats stand at attention.

    July 3, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mark L.

    Very, very sad news !! Another LEGEND gone !! My deepest, utmost heartfelt condolences go out to the entire family of Andy Griffith, may he forever rest in everlasting, heavenly peace. It seems, quite frankly, all of the legends from years past are practically all gone. Television today is NOT what it used to be. I grew up watching the Andy Griffith Show with Don Knotts, Ronnie Howard, etc. Television was so refreshingly innocent back in the good old days, and today, this so-called form of entertainment has turned into nothing more than TRASH !!!!

    July 3, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eva

      I agree with everything! Today I feel as if a part of America's innocence has died with him.

      July 3, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • De Evolution

      Concur, very sad news. He was iconic of a better America, and his passing is sort of a metaphor for our cultural degeneration. My, how times have changed. Now obese drug addicted welfare recipients tune in to watch the Kardashians.

      July 4, 2012 at 8:01 am | Report abuse |
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