Actor Andy Griffith was found dead Tuesday morning in his North Carolina home. Griffith was 86-years-old. WITN’s Bill Friday announced Andy Griffith dead at 7 a.m. this morning. Dare County Sheriff Doug Doughtie said an ambulance made its way to Griffith’s home this morning.
Andy Griffith became famous in his The Andy Griffith Show role as Sheriff Andy Taylor, which ran for eight years in the 1960s. He later starred as a criminal defense lawyer on Matlock, which ran for nine seasons from 1986 to 1995.
Ron Howard, who played Andy Griffith’s son, Opie, in The Andy Griffith Show, said that Griffith had been ill for some years before his death this morning. Griffith was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome in 1983, his nervous system then beginning to take a fall. Griffith underwent a quadruple bypass surgery when he had a heart attack in May 2000.
Howard told Deadline of the delight it was to work with Andy Griffith and of the energy Griffith always brought to set.
Andy Griffith’s Sheriff Andy Taylor was idolized as a fair and decent man and was also admired for his character. He strived to live up to that character. But Griffith spoke of a tough childhood.
According to News Observer, Andy Griffith was born into a blue collar family, his father a furniture factory worker. Commenting on his childhood experiences in Mount Airy, Griffith said, “I will tell you that it was not all positive. I was actually called ‘white trash’ at one point. That was said by a young girl I was stuck on, and she probably wasn’t thinking. And we did come from the wrong side of the tracks. But when she said ‘Get away from me, white trash,’ I did.”
But ,Andy Griffith quickly moved past the judgments of others with his musical talents, which he showcased in church. He mastered Moonlight Sonata on the trombone with the help of lessons from Rev. Ed Mickey. His musical passion led his college career and admiration from his peers shone when he was elected a fraternity president at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Details on Andy Griffith’s death are not yet accessible.