America’s sheriff Andy Griffith dead at 86

America’s sheriff Andy
Griffith dead at 86

By Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
Actor Andy Griffith, who
won the hearts of 1960s TV viewers with his role as gentle Sheriff Andy Taylor
in “The Andy Griffith Show,” then returned as a 1980s country
lawyer in “Matlock,” died Tuesday at 86,according to
WITN-TV
.
The news
was reported to the North Carolina television station by Bill Friday,
former president of the University of North Carolina and a Griffith
friend. 
Griffith
began his entertainment career with comic monologues and moved into movies,
debuting in 1957’s “A Face in the Crowd” with Patricia Neal.
But it was as the widower sheriff Andy Taylor on “The Andy Griffith
Show” that he really made his mark. The show, which also starred a young
Ron Howard as Griffith’s son Opie, and comedian Don Knotts as bumbling
Deputy Barney Fife, ran from 1960-1968. Its setting, in the fictional
small-town of Mayberry, became almost as famous as any one episode.
Griffith
returned to TV stardom in 1986 as Ben Matlock, a Southern lawyer. That show ran
until 1995 and was seized upon by comedians as a punchline for its popularity
with older Americans. In one “Simpsons” episode, a highway is
renamed the Matlock Expressway so a town mayor can win the elderly vote.

Griffith is
survived by wife Cindi and his daughter Dixie. Son Andrew Jr., known as Sam,
died in 1996.

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