Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Happy 85th Birthday Andy Griffith

Andy Samuel Griffith was born on June 1, 1926 in Mount Airy, North Carolina. Griffith grew up listening to music and listening to humorous tales told by his father who was a carpenter. Basically a shy child from a poor family he made friends by making them laugh. He participated in school plays and in high school joined the drama club. He attended a Baptist church where he learned to sing and play the trombone. After high school he was offered a part in "The Lost Colony" and joined the cast in presenting the play for a number of years. He then attended the University of North Carolina, hoping to become a minister he changed his major to music and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in music in 1949. He then taught English at Goldsboro High School in Goldsboro, North Carolina. He then recorded a number of records including ‘What it Was, Was Football’ which #9 on the Billboard Charts in 1954. He then starred in a television presentation of "No Time for Sergeants" (1955) which became a Broadway play and then a film version in 1958 which also featured his future TV co-star Don Knotts. Griffith appeared on an episode of the Danny Thomas series "Make Room for Daddy in 1960 as a county sheriff who stops Thomas for speeding through a small town. This led to a spinoff series "The Andy Griffith Show" with Griffith playing Sheriff Andy Taylor. The show also featured Don Knotts and a young Ron Howard as Andy’s son. The show ran from 1960-1968. Griffith left the show to pursue other projects and signed on as Ben Fetlock in "Matlock" a country lawyer which ran from 1968-1995. Andy also appeared as a guest star in several TV series and a few films including his only Euro-western "Rustler’s Rhapsody" (1985) with Tom Berenger. Griffith continued his career releasing a number of spiritual LPs. Now living in retirement he’s undergone quadruple heart-bypass surgery in 2000 and hip surgery in 2007. Today we celebrate the 85th birthday of Andy Griffith.

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