We at Blair were so saddened to hear the news that Andy Griffith, the actor best known for his roles on the television series The Andy Griffith Show and Matlock, passed away this morning at the age of 86.
He was known to most of us as Andy Taylor, a down-home sheriff in fictional Mayberry, North Carolina. For more than 50 years, television viewers have invited him into their homes. While his show continues to play, the man himself will be greatly missed.
Although I wasn’t an avid watcher of The Andy Griffith Show, I can’t help but think of the loveable Andy and the goofy Barney Fife whenever I hear that whistled theme song. And my half-sister fondly recalls those endless summer days of childhood, when she ate peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches and watched reruns of the show during lunch every afternoon.
As a tribute to Andy Griffith, we pulled together some quotes from a few of the actors and writers he inspired. After reading, we hope you’ll share your own memories of the man and the show that captured the hearts of so many.
“I best remember him [Andy Griffith] sitting around the reading table telling us that it was important for the show to be funny, but it had to be funny because the viewer could identify with the characters and not because we were a bunch of hayseeds and dumb hicks. And, boy, did Andy work to make that show work. It’s the hardest I’ve ever seen anyone work—ever.”
—Ron Howard, who played Opie, Andy’s son, on the show [excerpted from The Andy Griffith Show, by Richard Kelly]
“I found Andy outgoing and charming, and it seemed to me that he kept a very firm hand on the way the show was headed when we sat and read the script ’round the table.”
—Bernard Fox, who played Malcolm Merriweather on The Andy Griffith Show [excerpted from Mayberry 101: Behind the Scenes of a TV Classic, by Neal Brower]
“Aaron Ruben, Sheldon Leonard, Andy Griffith, and Don Knotts were not only brilliant in what they did but were the nicest people you could ever work for.”
—Writer Sam Brobrick [excerpted from Mayberry 101: Behind the Scenes of a TV Classic, by Neal Brower]
“One would be hard pressed to name another television series that has held up for so many years, which is a testimony to the actors, producers, and directors that came up with 249 episodes . . . Mayberry retains its crystal-clear image of small-town America, one that holds a reality in our imaginations as powerful and illusory as any great magician could possibly conjure.”
—Richard Kelly, author of The Andy Griffith Show