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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

IN MEMORIAM: Andy Griffith, 1926-2012

One of the great classic sitcom actors, Andy Griffith, died today at the age of 86. Griffith's career spanned over 60 years and included television, movies, recording, and stage work. He was a Grammy Award winning artist who recorded many Christian and Gospel albums and was well known for his lead role in the long running drama Matlock (1986-1995).

But to most people, he will always be remembered as Sheriff Andy Taylor, the kind moral center of small town Mayberry, NC on the classic sitcom The Andy Griffith Show from 1960-1968. The show was a starring vehicle for Griffith but when the ensemble cast proved to be such an interesting and wacky crew including Don Knotts as Barney Fife and Jim Nabors as Gomer Pyle, Griffith became the straight man in the show and he did it with excellence. Andy Taylor was always kind, always gentle, and always fair. He was a beacon of moral values in his relationships with his friends, jail dwellers, and especially his son Opie (Ron Howard). The Andy Griffith Show did more with subtle comedy than most shows of its era and today. It never went for the big punchlines, it just created wonderful characters that the audience cared about. To audiences then, it was an escape from the turbulent 1960s. To audiences now, it is a idyllic slice of life from a simpler time. The show had big staying power too. It was #1 in the ratings when Griffith decided to end the show in 1968 and it has been one of the most successful rerun shows on all time as it aired on TBS and then TV Land for years (and still does).

We will miss you, Sheriff Taylor. Thanks for the memories.

To see my Weekend Rewind on The Andy Griffith Show from October 2010, click here.

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