RALEIGH, N.C. — It was all too easy to confuse Andy Griffith the actor with Sheriff Andy Taylor, his most famous character from “The Andy Griffith Show.”
After all, Griffith set his namesake show in a make-believe town based on his hometown of Mount Airy, N.C., and played his “aw, shucks” persona to such perfection that viewers easily believed the character and the man were one.
Griffith, 86, died Tuesday at his coastal home, Dare County Sheriff Doug Doughtie said in a statement.
Griffith had a career that spanned more than a half-century and included Broadway, notably “No Time for Sergeants;” movies such as Elia Kazan’s “A Face in the Crowd”; and records.
“No Time for Sergeants,” released as a film in 1958, cast Griffith as Will Stockdale, an over-eager young hillbilly who, as a draftee in the Air Force, overwhelms the military with his rosy attitude. Establishing Griffith’s skill at playing a lovable rube, this hit film paved the way for his sitcom.
He was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts Hall of Fame in 1992, and in 2005 he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, one of the country’s highest civilian honors.
His television series resumed in 1986 with “Matlock,” which aired through 1995.