News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Top Story 2

July 3, 2012

Beloved actor Andy Griffith dies at 86

RALEIGH, N.C. — Andy Griffith, who made homespun Southern wisdom his trademark as the wise sheriff in "The Andy Griffith Show" and the rumpled defense lawyer in "Matlock," died today. He was 86.

Griffith died about 7 a.m. at his coastal home, Dare County Sheriff Doug Doughtie said in a statement.

"Mr. Griffith passed away this morning at his home peacefully and has been laid to rest on his beloved Roanoke Island," Doughtie told The Associated Press, reading from a family statement.

The family will release further information, the sheriff said.

He had suffered a heart attack and underwent quadruple bypass surgery in 2000.

Griffith's career spanned more than a half-century on stage, film and television, but he would always be best known as Sheriff Andy Taylor in the television show set in a North Carolina town not too different from Griffith's own hometown of Mount Airy, N.C.

Griffith set the show in the fictional town of Mayberry, N.C., where Sheriff Taylor was the dutiful nephew who ate pickles that tasted like kerosene because they were made by his loving Aunt Bee, played by the late Frances Bavier. He was a widowed father who offered gentle guidance to son Opie, played by Ron Howard, who grew up to become the Oscar-winning director of "A Beautiful Mind."

Don Knotts was the goofy Deputy Barney Fife, while Jim Nabors joined the show as Gomer Pyle, the unworldly, lovable gas pumper.

On "Matlock," which aired from 1986 through 1995, Griffith played a cagey Harvard-educated defense attorney who was Southern-bred and -mannered with a practice in Atlanta.

In his rumpled seersucker suit in a steamy courtroom (air conditioning would have spoiled the mood), Matlock could toy with a witness and tease out a confession like a folksy Perry Mason.

The character — law-abiding, fatherly and lovable — was much like Sheriff Andy Taylor with silver hair and a shingle.

In a 2007 interview with The Associated Press, Griffith said "The Andy Griffith Show," which initially aired from 1960 to 1968, was seen somewhere in the world every day. A reunion movie, "Return to Mayberry," was the top-rated TV movie of the 1985-86 season.

"The Andy Griffith Show" was a loving portrait of the town where few grew up but many wished they did — a place where all foibles are forgiven and friendships are forever. Villains came through town and moved on, usually changed by their stay in Mayberry. That was all a credit to Griffith, said Craig Fincannon, who met Griffith in 1974.

"I see so many TV shows about the South where the creative powers behind it have no life experience in the South," Fincannon said. "What made 'The Andy Griffith Show' work was Andy Griffith himself — the fact that he was of this dirt and had such deep respect for the people and places of his childhood. A character might be broadly eccentric, but the character had an ethical and moral base that allowed us to laugh with them and not at them. And Andy Griffith's the reason for that."

Griffith's career included stints on Broadway, notably "No Time for Sergeants"; movies such as Elia Kazan's "A Face in the Crowd"; and records. He was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts Hall of Fame in 1992 and in 2005, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, one of the country's highest civilian honors.

"The Andy Griffith Show" was one of only three series in TV history to bow out at the top of the ratings. (The others were "I Love Lucy" and "Seinfeld.") Griffith said he decided to end it "because I thought it was slipping, and I didn't want it to go down further."

When asked in 2007 to name his favorite episodes, the ones atop Griffith's list were the shows that emphasized Knotts' character. Griffith and Knotts had become friends while performing in "No Time for Sergeants," and remained so until Knotts' death in 2006 at 81.

"The second episode that we shot, I knew Don should be funny and I should play straight for him," Griffith said. "That opened up the whole series because I could play straight for everybody else. And I didn't have to be funny. I just let them be funny."

Letting others get the laughs was something of a role reversal for Griffith, whose career took off after he recorded the comedic monologue "What It Was, Was Football."

That led to his first national television exposure on "The Ed Sullivan Show" in 1954, and the stage and screen versions as the bumbling draftee in "No Time for Sergeants."

In the drama "A Face in the Crowd," he starred as Larry "Lonesome" Rhodes, a local jailbird and amateur singer who becomes a homespun philosopher on national television. As his influence rises, his drinking, womanizing and lust for power are hidden by his handlers.

"Mr. Griffith plays him with thunderous vigor," The New York Times wrote. Said The Washington Post: "He seems to have one of those personalities that sets film blazing."

Griffith said Kazan led him through his role, and it was all a bit overwhelming for someone with, as he put it, just "one little acting course in college."

"He would call me in the morning into his little office there, and he'd tell me all the colors that he wanted to see from my character that day," he recalled in 2007.

"Lonesome Rhodes had wild mood swings. He'd be very happy, he'd be very said, he'd be very angry, very depressed," he said. "And I had to pull all of these emotions out of myself. And it wasn't easy."

His role as Sheriff Taylor seemingly obliterated Hollywood's memory of Griffith as a bad guy. But then, after that show ended, he found roles scarce until he landed a bad-guy role in "Pray for the Wildcats."

Hollywood's memory bank dried up again, he said. "I couldn't get anything but heavies. It's funny how that town is out there. They see you one way."

More recently, Griffith won a Grammy in 1997 for his album of gospel music "I Love to Tell the Story — 25 Timeless Hymns."

In 2007, he appeared in the independent film "Waitress," playing the boss at the diner. The next year, he appeared in Brad Paisley's awarding-winning music video "Waitin' on a Woman."

Griffith was born in 1926 in Mount Airy and as a child sang and played slide trombone in the band at Grace Moravian Church. He studied at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and for a time contemplated a career in the ministry. But he eventually got a job teaching high school music in Goldsboro.

His acting career began with the role of Sir Walter Raleigh in Paul Green's outdoor pageant, "The Lost Colony," in Manteo. And he remained in the area even after superstardom knocked at his door.

Griffith protected his privacy by building a circle of friends who revealed little to nothing about him. Strangers who asked where Griffith lived in Manteo would receive circular directions that took them to the beach, said William Ivey Long, the Tony Award-winning costume designer whose parents were friends with Griffith and his first wife, Barbara.

Griffith helped Long's father build the house where the family lived in a community of bohemian artists with little money, sharing quart jars of homemade vegetable soup with each other.

Both Long and Fincannon recalled Griffith's sneaky tendency to show up unexpectedly — sneaking into the choir at "The Lost Colony," or driving the grand marshals of the local Christmas parade incognito in his 1932 roadster convertible.

Fincannon described Griffith as the symbol of North Carolina, a role that "put heavy pressure on him because everyone felt like he was their best friend. With great grace, he handled the constant barrage of people wanting to talk to Andy Taylor."

He and his first wife, Barbara Edwards, had two children, Sam, who died in 1996, and Dixie. His second wife was Solica Cassuto. Both marriages ended in divorce. He married his third wife, Cindi Knight Griffith, in 1983.

"She and I are not only married, we're partners," Griffith said in 2007. "And she helps me very much with everything."

When asked if the real Griffith was more wise like Sheriff Taylor or cranky like Joe, the diner owner in "Waitress," Griffith said he was a bit of both, and then some.

"I'm not really wise. But I can be cranky," he said. "I can be a lot like Joe. But I'm lot like Andy Taylor, too. And I'm some Lonesome Rhodes."

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Top Story 2
  • MET 041314 PAINT PARTY.jpg Going purple: ‘Honoring those who are still fighting’ against cancer

    Every stroke of paint that touched the roadway had a profound meaning to a small group of painters on Sunday.

    April 13, 2014 4 Photos

  • Ukraine_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Tuesday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, April 8:

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • NCAA Kentucky UConn F_Tayl.jpg UConn wins NCAA title, 60-54, over Kentucky

    No conference wanted them. Several teammates and their coach left them. The NCAA wouldn’t have them.
    UConn won it all anyway.

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • TV-Letterman Retiring_Ter .jpg Letterman’s departure will reshape late-night

    NEW YORK (AP) — Jimmy Fallon’s fast start replacing Jay Leno on the “Tonight” show the past two months had a secondary effect: David Letterman suddenly seemed old.

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • Colts Owner Arrested _Ter .jpg Police: Colts owner had $29K in cash when arrested

    CARMEL, Ind. (AP) — Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay had $29,000 in cash and bottles of prescription drugs in his vehicle when he was arrested on suspicion of intoxicated driving, according to a police arrest report.

    March 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Malaysia Plane_Ter .jpg UPDATE: Relatives sob as Malaysia confirms plane is lost

    BEIJING (AP) — Relatives shrieked and sobbed uncontrollably. Men and women nearly collapsed, held up by loved ones. Their grief came pouring out after 17 days of waiting for definitive word on the fate of the passengers and crew of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet.

    March 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • APTOPIX Chicago Train_Ter .jpg Train derails, climbs escalator at Chicago airport

    CHICAGO (AP) — An eight-car Chicago commuter train plowed across a platform and scaled an escalator at an underground station at one of the nation’s busiest airports early today, injuring 32 people on board, officials said.

    March 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Snohomish Mudslide_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Monday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, March 24:

    March 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • NYC Explosion_Ter .jpg Searchers scour rubble after blast kills 7

    NEW YORK (AP) — Rescuers working amid gusty winds, cold temperatures and billowing smoke pulled four additional bodies overnight from the rubble of two Manhattan apartment buildings, as the death toll rose today, to at least seven from a gas leak-triggered explosion.

    March 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Film Casting Jesus_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Friday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, March 7:

    March 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • US Obama Ukraine Russ_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Tuesday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, March 4:

    March 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • 86th Academy Awards -_Ter (2).jpg ‘12 Years a Slave’ wins best picture at Oscars

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Perhaps atoning for past sins, Hollywood named the brutal, unshrinking historical drama “12 Years a Slave” best picture at the 86th annual Academy Awards.

    March 3, 2014 2 Photos

  • MET030114swope shaffer.jpg VIDEO: Mardi Gras at the Swope

    Teresa Shaffer was handing out beads and masks at the Swope Art Museum's Mardi Gras celebration Saturday night. The event is an annual fundraiser for the downtown museum.

    March 1, 2014 2 Photos 1 Video

  • Married Priest_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Friday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, Feb. 28:

    February 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Planet Bonanza_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Thursday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, Feb. 27:

    February 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Backyard Gold Bonanza_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Wednesday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, Feb. 26:

    February 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Obit Ramis_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Tuesday

    Harold Ramis, creator of comedy classics, dies at 69. The writer-director-actor created a hugely influential body of work, including such films as “Caddyshack,” “National Lampoon’s Animal House,” “Ghostbusters” and “Groundhog Day.”

    February 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Nets Lakers Basketbal_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Monday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, Feb. 24:

    February 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ukraine Protests_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Friday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, Feb. 21:

    February 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • 21 To Smoke_Morg (1).jpg Colorado, Utah move to hike smoking age to 21

    DENVER — Two Western states with some of the nation's lowest smoking rates are considering cracking down even more by raising the tobacco age to 21.

    February 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • TV Fallons First Nigh_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Tuesday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, Feb. 18:

    February 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Switzerland Plane Div_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Monday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, Feb. 17:

    February 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Obama US France_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Wednesday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, Feb. 12:

    February 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Economy_Morg.jpg U.S. employers add 113K jobs; rate dips to 6.6 pct.

    WASHINGTON — Hiring was surprisingly weak in January for the second straight month, likely renewing concern that the U.S. economy might be slowing after a strong finish last year.

    February 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • APTOPIX Sochi Olympic_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Thursday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, Feb. 6:

    February 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET020514snowzimmerman.jpg Vigo schools on 2-hour delay Thursday

    Vigo County students will be back to school Thursday.
    According to Vigo County School Corp. Superintendent Danny Tanoos, schools will be on a two-hour delay on Thursday.
    Due to inclement weather, schools were canceled today in Vigo and surrounding counties.

    February 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • CVS Caremark Tobacco _Ter .jpg Obama praises CVS for pulling tobacco from shelves

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is praising CVS Caremark for its decision to stop selling tobacco products at its drugstores.

    February 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • Winter Weather NYC 10 things to know for Wednesday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, Feb. 5:

    February 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET 020414 HEAVY SNOWFALL.jpg Here we snow again: More winter weather hits the Wabash Valley

    Police and rescue workers were busy Tuesday night responding to crashes and slide-offs in the wake of another big snowfall in the Wabash Valley.

    February 5, 2014 2 Photos 2 Stories

  • Winter Weather Pennsy_Ter .jpg 10 Things to Know for Tuesday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today, Feb. 4:

    February 4, 2014 1 Photo

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Raw: Fatal Ferry Boat Accident Pistorius Trial: Adjourned Until May 5 Diaz Gets Physical for New Comedy Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Miley Cyrus Still in Hospital, Cancels 2nd Show Raw: Three Rare White Tiger Cubs Debut at Zoo New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Pope's Relic on Wheels Departs to Rome Raw: Storm Topples RVs Near Miss. Gulf Coast Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line Today in History for April 16th
NDN Video
Jenny McCarthy Engaged to "New Kid" Kate and Will Land in Oz Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Bay Area Teen Gets Prom Date With Help From 'Breaking Bad' Star Behind The Tanlines Jersey Strong Part 1 WATCH: Women Fight To Marry Prince Harry! O’Reilly Launches Preemptive Strike Against CBS Pixar Unveils Easter Eggs From its Biggest Movies Baby Sloths Squeak for Their Cuddle Partners in Adorable Video Miley Cyrus Hospitalized After Severe Reaction To Medicine Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Toddler climbs into vending machine 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Much-Anticipated 'Gone Girl' Trailer Finally Debuts! (VIDEO) Dog and Toddler Wear Matching Outfits in Adorable Photo Series VP Biden: "World witnesses ordinary citizens doing extraordinary things" It's Official! Michael Strahan Joins "GMA" Blood Moon Time-lapse Actress Lake Bell Goes Topless The Five Weirdest Local Taxes in America
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity