Andy Griffith, his real name, was born June 1, 1926, in Mount Airy,
North Carolina, on the same date as Marilyn Monroe. Like his real
life best friends Dick Van Dyke and Don Knotts, Griffith was known to
be a very private person. In Andy’s hometown, a yearly celebration
known as “Mayberry Days” continues to be held in honor of the award
There were 249 episodes made for television of “The Andy Griffith
Show” and I know for certain that my daddy, Forrest Scott, saw every
one of the installments, and then later watched the reruns for years.
Andy was dedicated to the premise of the show and was in fact the only
character to appear in every one of the episodes.
David and I watched it as youngsters with our parents when it was a
once weekly nighttime show because daddy knew that each chapter
contained a moral to the story or country words of wisdom as he
explained it and he scrutinized the dialog and listened for clues.
The shows gave us reasons to have family conversations about honesty,
integrity and principles.
Andy began his public career in 1953 by making a recording called
“What is was, Was football”. Daddy owned a 45 RPM copy that he
enjoyed playing for friends and relatives and he memorized and
frequently repeated the funniest lines. Andy used his best hillbilly
voice on the recording and it was difficult to imagine that he had a
college degree in music and was destined to become one of the most
recognizable figures on television.
It is reported that Andy actually taught English at Goldsboro North
Carolina high school for a period of time and not only had a beautiful
singing voice, he also played the trombone. He won a Grammy award in
1997 for his album “I Love to tell the Story: 25 Timeless Hymns”, has
a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and a museum in his hometown in
It was Andy’s suggestion to not follow the other sitcoms of the 1960s
by filming in front of a live audience but to capture the situations
like a movie and avoid the laugh-track backgrounds of those days.
Additionally it was his idea to present the fictional town of Mayberry
like a real place filled with a believable cast of colorful characters.
In 1986 he returned to television in the popular series “Matlock”
playing a criminal defense attorney who charges one hundred thousand
dollars to take a case. He was actively involved in every aspect of
the script writing, a habit he had developed during his days on the
Andy Griffith show.
He was baptized at eight years old alongside his mother and was quoted
as saying he “tried to walk a Christian life.”
Andy passed away on July 3, 2012 at age 86 and at his request was laid
to rest five hours after his passing at the Griffith Family Cemetery
located on the island of Manteo, North Carolina.