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. The Charlotte Observer later reported that its sources had confirmed Griffith's death.
Actor Ron Howard, who played Griffith's son, Opie, on "The Andy Griffith Show," told Deadline.com that Griffith "has not been well for some time."
Dare County Sheriff Doug Doughtie had confirmed to WITN earlier that am ambulance was sent to Griffith's home.
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 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.
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