Well, I reckon it had to happen someday, but I declare I wish it wasn’t so:
Beloved actor Andy Griffith died this morning.
Former UNC President Bill Friday says The Andy Griffith Show and Matlock actor died at his home in Dare County, North Carolina around 7 a.m.
Friday, who is a close friend of the actor, confirmed the news to WITN News.
Some will think back on ol’ Andy and remember such irrelevancies as “Matlock,” which I never took any interest in. That image is apparently indelible, though. On Saturday, I was sitting out in the 108-degree sun at a wedding, and the guy in front of me commented on someone up ahead wearing a seersucker jacket, and said something like, “Somebody went with the Matlock look.” (If he’d turned around, he’d have seen someone wearing a full seersucker suit, which of course was the only thing to wear. This guy was in black, if you can believe it.)
But that’s not the impression Andy left on me, or on most people, I suspect.
To me, he’s the character of his youth. He’s the enthusiastic innocent of “No Time for Sergeants.” He’s the really scary, dark side of that character in “A Face in the Crowd” (in an awe-inspiring performance that I never saw him equal since — although few would want to remember him for that).
But mostly, he’s Andy Taylor, the Sheriff Without A Gun. And I mean the early Sheriff Taylor, in black and white, with Barney Fife, before he got jaded and bored with the character (his portrayal is unrecognizable in the later episodes, after Opie stopped being cute).
For the Andy Taylor I know, there’s a perfect heaven. It’s on the front porch of his house in Mayberry, just a-settin’ there rockin’ with Barney after one of Aunt Bea’s Mmmm-mmmm! dinners. Maybe he’s strumming the guitar a bit, but not too energetically. And he’s engaged in this sort of conversation:
Andy: You know what would be a good idea? If we all went up town and got a bottle of pop…
Barney: That’s a good idea, if we all went up town to get a bottle of pop.
Andy: You think Mr. Tucker would like to go?
Barney: Why don’t we ask him… if he’d like to go uptown to get a bottle of pop?
Andy: Mr. Tucker?
(No response from Mr. Tucker)
Andy: You wanna lets me and you go?
Andy: Uptown to get a bottle of pop?
That’s the sort of peace most anyone would like to rest in…