Andy Griffith, the iconic film and television actor who entertained generations of people through his shows "The Andy Griffith Show" and "Matlock," died this morning at age 86:
Griffith, who, as Sheriff Andy Taylor on the actor's namesake 1960s TV comedy, kept the peace, and represented a heartland ideal, died Tuesday, the actor's friend Bill Friday told WITN News. He was 86.
In addition to The Andy Griffith Show, Griffith created a darkly iconic character in the 1957 film A Face in the Crowd and won fans in the long-running whodunit series Matlock. But, in the end, it was Mayberry that put him on the map.
It seems weird to me that just this weekend, I watched an episode of A&E's Biography about his life, and I realized how much about him I did not know. I learned that he was a serious actor who struggled with shaking off the Sheriff Andy Taylor persona. I suppose that sometimes that's the price you pay for being too good at what you do, but nevertheless, I am glad that he was able to perform until the end, and that his feel-good shows gave many a 30-minute escape from reality. RIP.