Andy Griffith Laid to Rest Just Hours After Passing

by J-Stacknik

Andy Griffith passed away on July 3, 2012 and was buried on his beloved Roanoke Island, just a few hours after his passing.

Although Andy Griffith made his acting debut in the movie A Face In The Crowd in 1957, he became popular for his television roles. First in the series that bore his name, TheAndy Griffith Show (1960-68) which was a comedy and again in the legal drama, Matlock (1986-95).

He was born in Mount Airy, North Carolina, the only child to Geneva and Carl Lee Griffith. His parents were poor andAndy had to live with relatives as young boy until his father got a job working as a carpenter and they were able to afford to buy a home in Mount Airy’s blue-collar area on the south side of the town. His mother was a music lover and his father instilled a sense of humor with old family stories.

Andy knew by the time he entered school that he was from the “wrong side of the tracks”. This made him a shy student but once he figured he could make his peers laugh he began to come into his own. At Mount Airy High School he became interested in the arts and he participated in the school’s drama program.

Griffith was raised Baptist and looked up to Ed Mickey, a minister at Grace Moravian Church, who lead the brass band and taught him to sing and play trombone. Mickey nurtured Griffith’s talent throughout high school andGriffith scored his first role in the play The Lost Colony. He was initially going to study to be a Morivan preacher but changed his major to music and became part of the school’s Carolina Play Makers. After graduating from University of North Carolina with a Bachelor of Music degree in 1949 he taught English for a few years at Goldsboro High School in Goldsboro, North Carolina.

After teaching Griffith began a career as a monologist, delivering long stories such as What it Was, Was Football, which was told from the point of view of a a rural backwoodsman tying to figure out what was going on in a football game. The monologue was released as a single in 1953 and was a hit for Griffith, reaching number nine on the charts. After this he continued to act in plays and eventually landed on Broadway. He eventually landed his first movie role in the movie A Face In The Crowd co-starring Patricia Neal and Walther Matthau in 1957.

Three years later Griffith appeared in an episode of Make Room for Daddy, starring Danny Thomas, as a county sheriff. This episode in which Thomas’ character is stopped for speeding in a little town, served as a backdoor pilot for The Andy Griffith Show. The show took place in the fictional town of Mayberry and Griffith starred as widower Sheriff Andy Taylor. The show co-starred character actor and comedian Don Knots in the role of Deputy Barney Fife and ran until Griffith called it quits in 1967 to pursue movies and other projects.

Griffith started his own production company in 1972 and starred in less successful television series until 1986 when made a come back with the very popular Matlock series where he played title character, Ben Matlock. This series ran until 1995. After Matlock, he continued to work in television and his last guest-starring role was in an episode of Dawson’s Creek in 2001. He continued his career in movies appearing in over 15 movies over his career with his last being the independent film Play The Game. Griffith also had a moderately successful recording career focussing on country and gospel music with his most successful album being I Love To Tell The Story: 25 Timeless Hymns, in 1996.

Griffith was married to Barbara Bray Edwards from 1949 to 1972 and they had two children. He married again in 1976 to Greek actress Solica Cassuto but divorced five years later. In 1983 he married Cindi Knight who was at his side when he passed away. He is survived by his daughter, Dixie Nan and was predeceased by his son, Sam who died in 1996.

His wife released a heartfelt statement after his death, ”Andy was a person of incredibly strong Christian faith and was prepared for the day he would be called Home to his Lord,” Griffith’s wife, Cindi, said in a statement. “He is the love of my life, my constant companion, my partner, and my best friend. I cannot imagine life without Andy, but I take comfort and strength in God’s Grace and in the knowledge that Andy is at peace and with God.”

Andy Griffith was laid to rest on his family farm on Roanoke Island with only close family and friends at his funeral.

Read more:

Andy Griffith Biography | Biography.com

 

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