Born in Mount Airy and a longtime resident of Roanoke Island, actor Andy Griffith is one of the most respected and beloved entertainers to ever come from North Carolina, but in the end he will be remembered even more for what he truly is – an American icon.
If the term “icon” suggests to you that we place Andy Griffith on the same pop culture pedestal as Mickey Mouse, Superman, and Abraham Lincoln, you would be correct.
Ask yourself, what opening theme music from any television series in history is honestly more instantly recognizable to more people around than world that of The Andy Griffith Show (1960-1968)?
What actor more embodied a fictionaly character more than Griffith did with his alter ego of the sheriff of the fictional town of Mayberry?
The fact is Andy Griffith played “Andy Taylor” so well, most people forgot that he was acting.
And if creating one iconic character wasn’t enough, Griffith did it again two decades later, portraying what was besically the natural progression of small town righteous sheriff to a small town righteous lawyer on his second hit TV series Matlock (1986-1995).
Of course long before Matlock and Mayberry, Andy Griffith launched his acting career in The Lost Colony play, produced on the same Roanoke Island, NC waterfront where the historic mystery actually takes place.
He is easily the most famous former cast member in the 75 year history of The Lost Colony - which itself is the longest running outdoor drama in American history.
You can watch a vintage commerical for The Lost Colony featuring Andy Griffith in the player below!
Once an aspiring opera singer, he turned his full attention to acting after college at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.
In 2001, Andy guest starred on an episode of The WB series Dawson’s Creek (filmed in Wilmington, NC), and most recently appeared in the music video for Brad Paisley’s “Waitin’ on a Woman”, which was filmed in Nags Head, NC in 2008.
Dare County Emergency Medical Services responded to a call to Griffith’s home on Roanoke Island early this morning (July 3), where Andy Griffith was later officially pronounced dead around 7am.
Director Ron Howard (Apollo 13, The Da Vinci Code), who played Andy’s son “Opie” on The Andy Griffith Show tweeted earlier today: “Andy Griffith His pursuit of excellence and the joy he took in creating served generations & shaped my life I’m forever grateful RIP Andy”.
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