Scott Harris July 3, 2012
It’s a sad day in Mayberry today, as according to USA Today, Andy Griffith, the star of the silver screen and hit TV shows “The Andy Griffith Show” and “Matlock,” has died.
He was 86.
Though best known for his television work, Griffith got his big break in movies, earning instant stardom thanks to his role as Larry “Lonesome” Rhodes in Elia Kazan’s 1957 film “A Face in the Crowd.” Several more film roles followed, including minor hits like 1958′s “No Time For Sergeants” and 1961′s “The Second Time Around.”
Griffith’s Hollywood career took a sharp detour in 1960, however, when “The Andy Griffith Show” debuted. The series, which starred Griffiths as the sheriff of a small town called Mayberry, became not just a smash sensation but a cultural milestone over its eight year run. The series also introduced the world to Ron Howard, who played Griffith’s young son, Opie.
“Andy Griffith His pursuit of excellence and the joy he took in creating served generations & shaped my life,” Howard said on Twitter following the news of Griffith’s death. “I’m forever grateful RIP Andy.”
“The Andy Griffith Show” would have been enough to cement anyone’s legacy, but following a brief return to movies for 1969′s “Angel in My Pocket,” Griffith enjoyed a rare second act to his career thanks to the popular legal procedural “Matlock,” which ran for nine seasons beginning in 1986 on the strength of Griffith’s down home country charm.
In recent years, Griffiths returned to the big screen in several small indie films, the most notable being Keri Russell’s acclaimed 2007 hit “Waitress.”
Griffith is survived by his third wife, Cindi Knight, and a daughter.
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