Actor Andy Griffith died Tuesday morning at the age of 86. Around 7 a.m. the Dare County, N.C. police office announced his death. Griffith’s family has put him to rest in Roanoke Island. According to a statement made by his family he died after an undisclosed illness.
His leading lady off camera, Cindi Griffith, made a statement about her husband’s death, “Andy was a person of incredibly strong Christian faith and was prepared for the day he would be called Home to his Lord.” Andy and Cindi Griffith have been married for over 29 years.
Andy has had a great career in the entertainment business but when his name is heard more than likely a person is to think of him as the sheriff from Mayberry, North Carolina. “The Andy Griffith Show” is said to be one of the top five sitcoms ever shown on television according to CBS News.
Much like Andy Taylor, Andy Griffith, born Andrew Samuel Griffith, lived in a small town named Mt. Airy, N.C. and from a very young age he knew he wanted to be a performer. Growing up he believed he would be a musician, playing instruments and singing at his hometown church of Grace Moravian Church.
His first role as an actor was as Sir Walter Raleigh in “The Lost Colony” which took place in Manteo, N.C.
After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1949 he had a Bachelor’s degree in music. After college he moved to New York and after that his career took off. In the 1950s he was shown regularly on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and “The Steve Allen Show”. The musical side of him came out in 1955 was he starred in a Broadway show “No Time for Sergeants,” and later on got nominated for a Tony for his performance. His second Tony nomination came for his role in “Destry Ride Again,” a musical during the year of 1960.
Andy created his own production company in 1972. In the same year he created, “The New Andy Griffith Show” that unfortunately only lasted one year. Griffith continued his career in TV movies and guest appearances on many other TV shows.
In 1997 Griffith let his musical roots shine through with his Grammy Award winning album “I Love to Tell the Story: 25 Timeless Hymns” in the Southern country or bluegrass gospel category.
In the year 2000 his career came to a halt when he suffered from a heart attack that made him in need of quadruple heart-bypass surgery. Hip surgery was performed on him in 2007 after he fell. He also had Guillain-Barre syndrome.
His marriage to Cindi Griffith was his third marriage. His first being to Barbara Edwards in 1972. Before they divorced they had two children, Sam (deceased in 1996) and Dixie. His second marriage was to Solica Casuto in the year of 1975. And finally in 1983 he married Cindi Knight Griffith.
Griffith was featured in the Associated Press in 2007 talking about his wife Cindi. He said, “She and I are not only married, we’re partners. And she helps me very much with everything.”
In 2005 President George W. Bush awarded him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In his speech President Bush said, “The enduring appeal of the show has always depended — and still does — on the simplicity and sweetness and rectitude of the man behind the badge. TV shows come and go, but there’s only one Andy Griffith.”
Andy Griffith will never be forgotten as “America’s Favorite Sheriff.”