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Andy Griffith dies at 86

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The actor who carved out a career that included a Tony award, distinguished film roles and, ultimately, a signature television image as Sheriff Andy Taylor of mythical Mayberry, along with Don Knotts and Ron Howard, has died. He was 86 and died this morning at his home on Roanoke Island in North Carolina. From NYT obit:

Andy Griffith was considerably more complex than Andy Taylor and his fellow denizens of Mayberry, although the show was based on his hometown, Mount Airy, N.C.

Beginning with the lead in Elia Kazan’s film “A Face in the Crowd” in 1957, the story of a rough-hewn television personality who becomes a power-crazed megalomaniac, Mr. Griffith brought a canny authenticity to dark roles.

From the 1970s to the 1990s, Mr. Griffith starred in no fewer than six movies with the words “murder” or “kill” in their titles. In 1983, in “Murder in Cowetta County,” he played a chillingly wicked man who remains stone cold even as he is being strapped into the electric chair.

Mr. Griffith’s fans may have imagined him as a happy bumpkin, but he enjoyed life in Hollywood and knew his way around a wine list. His career was controlled by a personal manager, Richard O. Linke, who forbade Mr. Griffith to solicit advice from anyone else, even his wife.

“If there is ever a question about something, I will do what he wants me to do,” Mr. Griffith said in an interview with The New York Times Magazine in 1970. “Had it not been for him, I would have gone down the toilet.”


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