Andy Griffith, star of The Andy Griffith Show and Matlock, has died. The North Carolinan was 86 years old when he passed around 7 a.m. Tuesday morning. Emergency workers had responded to a call to Griffith's Dare County home, but no other details are known as yet.
The southern actor was a comedian who was successful on stage before turning his attention to television. His big time break came with an appearance on The Danny Thomas Show called "Danny Meets Andy Griffith." It served as a pilot for Griffith's self-titled show, a series that ended when Griffith himself decided to move on. However, the show did not as much end as it transitioned to the spinoff, Mayberry R.F.D.
Griffith was known for saying every year would be the show's last, even though he continued on 8 seasons. Unfortunately, his fifth season statement about being done led to Don Knotts signing a contract with a movie studio that resulted in his inability to continue on with the series as the loveable Barney Fife. It was a move that forever changed the feel of the comedy show.
Griffith went on to star in a round of failed series, including Headmaster, The New Andy Griffith Show, and Salvage 1. He appeared in two notable mini-series, Centennial and Roots: The Next Generation.
In 1986, Griffith reunited his Mayberry co-stars for Return to Mayberry. Howard, now a director, joined Griffith in a wonderful get-together of the cast. This same season, Griffith hit gold again with Matlock where he played a highly successful attorney in Atlanta, Georgia. The show changed both networks and filming location during its 9 seasons, switching from NBC to ABC in 1992 when the show started filming in Wilmington, N.C. CBS joined the party in 1997 when Griffith appeared as Matlock on a two-parter of Dick Van Dyke's Diagnosis Murder series.
His final role was in the 2009 movie, Play the Game.
Griffith was also a respected singer and released several albums over the years. He won a Grammy Award in 1996 for the platinum gospel album, I Love to Tell the Story: 25 Timeless Hymns.
Griffith was thrice married, his most recent to wife Cindi. He also had two children with first wife, Barbara. Andy Griffith is already missed by millions of fans across the world.