Andy Griffith, beloved TV dad who starred in The Andy Griffith Show from 1960-1968, has died in North Carolina at the age of 86. Griffith portrayed a widowed small town sheriff in the fictional North Carolina town of Mayberry, with a young Ron Howard as his son. Later, Griffith starred in the hit TV 1986-1995 TV series, Matlock.
“In 2000, Griffith underwent quadruple heart-bypass surgery and in 2007 had hip surgery after a fall,” USA Today reports:
Griffith and his first wife, Barbara Bray Edwards, married in 1949. They were divorced in 1972 and she got custody of their daughter Dixie and he got custody of son Sam, who died in 1996 after years of alcoholism. His second marriage, to Greek actress Solica Cassuto, lasted eight years, from 1973 to 1981.
He and Cindi Knight were married on April 12, 1983, when she was 27 and he was 56. A private man, he told the Virginian-Pilot in 2008 in a lengthy profile by Mal Vincent that he’s friendly and outgoing to a point, but has been known to turn down requests for autographs.
“When my wife, Cindi, and I go somewhere and we don’t want to be recognized. She says, ‘Don’t talk.’ “
In 2008, Griffith joined with now-director Ron Howard to star in this video advocating for the election of Barack Obama.
Two years later, a very senior Andy Griffith starred in a pro-Obamacare ad as well.
The 1960′s Andy Griffith Show covered a myriad of family and small-town life issues, including this episode from its second season, “Opie and the Bully.”
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