TV Icon Andy Griffith Dies

America’s favorite TV sheriff Andy Griffith passed away July 3, 2012 at the age of 86.

Andy, best known for his role as the bucolic sheriff on THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW on CBS, entertained families for decades. His down-home aphorisms and witticisms inspired generations, and are still popular today.

“He was prepared to see the Lord,” Andy’s wife, Cindi, said.

A native of North Carolina, where the show was set, Griffith grew up in church and first aspired to be an opera singer. In 2005, President Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

“His pursuit of excellence and the joy he took in creating served generations and shaped my life,” Actor and Director Ron Howard, who co-starred with Griffith on the show as a young boy, said.

Griffith’s wife said in a statement, “Andy was a person of incredibly strong Christian faith and was prepared for the day he would be called Home to his Lord.”

She added, “He is the love of my life, my constant companion, my partner, and my best friend. I cannot imagine life without Andy, but I take comfort and strength in God’s grace and in the knowledge that Andy is at peace and with God.”

In an interview with “Guideposts” from 1996, Andy said “I firmly believe that in every situation, no matter how difficult, God extends grace greater than the hardship, and strength and peace of mind that can lead us to a place higher than where we were before,”

An extremely talented singer, Andy served as the choir director at First Baptist Church of Goldsboro. He was pursuing pre-ministerial studies at UNC Chapel Hill before he decided to become an actor. After a successful acting career, he returned to music.

He’s released over 15 albums including multiple compilations of his favorite hymns.

“I have had 44 good years so far as an actor and entertainer in show business. . . and now I get the opportunity to record. . . as a singer for heaven’s sake,” he said on the occasion of his gospel album “I Love To Tell the Story.”

Andy Griffith leaves behind a legacy of wholesome entertainment that will last generations to come.

His success on TV came after outstanding movie roles in A FACE IN THE CROWD and the hilarious NO TIME FOR SERGEANTS, which Griffith also performed in a celebrated Broadway show beginning in 1955 to 1957, which earned him a Tony nomination.

THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW ran for eight seasons from October 3, 1960 to April 1, 1968. Griffith also starred in the MATLOCK series on TV, which ran for nine seasons, mostly in the first half of the 1990s.