July 4, 2012- A TV icon is gone. Andy Griffith died on Tuesday morning in his Manteo, North Carolina residence at the age of 86. Bill Friday, the former University of North Carolina president, confirmed the passing of Griffith, his close friend of many years. Griffith was a household name due to his portrayal of the Sheriff on The Andy Griffith Show, which was on television between 1960 and 1968.
Griffith played Andy Taylor, a widower in Mayberry, North Carolina, which was modeled after Mt. Airy, North Carolina, Griffith’s hometown. Co-starring with Griffith on the show was Don Knots, who portrayed Barney Fife, Griffith’s loyal deputy and a young Ron Howard who played Griffith’s young son Opie.
Following the success of The Andy Griffith Show, the actor went on to star in the long running series Matlock. He portrayed Ben Matlock, a defense lawyer, who used his intelligence to draw out confessions of people in dramatic scenes inside courtrooms. The show was on from 1986 to 1995.
Griffith appeared in a number of TV shows including Hawaii Five-O, Fantasy Island, The Bionic Woman as well as many films. Away from acting, Griffith enjoyed a successful career as an accomplished singer of gospel who won a 1997 Grammy for a 1997 album.
Cindi Knight, his wife since 1983 and his daughter Dixie Griffith survive Griffith. One son, Sam Griffith, died.