Andy Griffith Dead at 86
Griffith passed away at his home in North Carolina on Tuesday morning, a close friend of the actor, former UNC President Bill Friday, confirmed to WITN News.
Griffith is most known for his role as Sheriff Andy Taylor on The Andy Griffith show, set in fictional Mayberry. The show ran from 1960-1968, propelling a handful of spin-off programs. Griffith also produced and starred in the television series Matlock.
Griffith is survived by his third wife, Cindi Knight, whom he wed in 1983, and his daughter Dixie Nan, from his first marriage, to Barbara Bray Edwards.
Oscar-winning director Ron Howard, who starred as Griffith's son on The Andy Griffith Show from 1960 to 1968 starting at age of 6, released a statement to Deadline about his on-screen father's passing:
"His love of creating, the joy he took in it whether it was drama or comedy or his music, was inspiring to grow up around. The spirit he created on the set of The Andy Griffith Show was joyful and professional all at once. It was an amazing environment. And I think it was a reflection of the way he felt about having the opportunity to create something that people could enjoy. It was always with respect and passion for the opportunity and really what it could offer people in a very unpretentious and earthy way. He felt he was always working in service of an audience he really respected and cared about. He was a great influence on me. His passing is sad. But he lived a great rich life."