Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Remembering Andy Griffith June 1, 1926 - July 3, 2012

Andy Griffith left us one year ago today at the age of 86 from a heart attack in his home in Manteo, Roanoke Island in North Carolina.

Andy really needs to introduction in that he remains one of the most popular actors, television producers, and award winning Southern gospel singers of his time.  He was also a writer.

He gained prominence following his starring role in the film "A Face In The Crowd." Griffith is most remembered for television roles including the lead character in the situation comedy from 1960-68 as Sheriff Andy Taylor in "The Andy Griffith Show

" that continues its popularity today.  He also starred as Ben Matlock in the legal drama "Matlock" that ran from 1986-95.

He was born in Mount Airy, North Carolina.  He grew up listening to music and became interested in the arts.  Following graduation from high school, Andy began college studying to be a Moravian preacher and later changed his major to music.  After college, he became a schoolteacher for a few years in Goldsboro High School in North Carolina and also enjoyed delivering long stories including monologue"What it Was, Was Football"that became a huge hit on the charts.

He began appearing in films including "No Time for Sergeants" that also featured Don Knotts and their friendship and association would last forever.  He made his film debut with his role "A Face in the Crowd"Other appearances include "Headmaster" "Salvage 1"and "The Yeagers" and later "Deathwatch" "From Here To Eternity" "Roots: The Next Generation" and "Murder in Texas" along with numerous other roles.

He enjoyed singing and recorded several successful albums of gospel music including "I Love To Tell the Story: 25 Timeless Hymns"and won a Grammy Award for Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album in 1997.

Griffith died on July 3, 2012 at 7am and was laid to rest on his estate in the "Griffith Family Cemetery" five hours following his passing.

A memorial service was held in his honor in the outdoors amphitheater at the Andy Griffith Museum in Mt. Airy on Sunday, September 20, 2012 during the annual 2012 Mayberry Days Festival.  Participants in the service included Betty Lynn (Thelma Lou in the Andy Griffith Show), a message from Ron Howard (Opie) and among those attending were several members of the cast including George Lindsey's (Goober) son and Don Knotts's (Barney) daughter.

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