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America’s Sheriff Andy Griffith Passes Away at 86

By Maria Richardson

July 3, 2012. North Carolina and America lost another outstanding icon; America’s sheriff, Andy Griffith, at age 86 this morning in Manteo, N.C.

President George W. Bush presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to actor Andy Griffith, one of 14 recipients of the 2005 Presidential Medal of Freedom, awarded Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2005 in the East Room. White House photo by Paul Morse

Emergency medical crews responded to Griffith’s home on Tuesday morning. Former UNC President Bill Friday, later confirmed Griffith’s death.

Griffith’s home is located along Highway 64 on Roanoke Island near Manteo.

He was know as an actor, producer, director, award-winning singer and writer and a beloved family man.

Griffith was born June 1, 1926 in Mount Airy, North Carolina. He was the only child of Geneva and Carl Lee Griffith. He attended Mount Airy High School where his love for drama and the arts sparked. In college, he began studying to be a Moravian preacher, but he changed his major to music and became a part of the school’s Carolina Play Makers. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Chapel Hill, N.C., and graduated with a bachelor of music degree in 1949.

Griffith was most well known for starring on The Andy Griffith Show from 1960-1968. Reruns of the show continue to be shown across the country.

In 1967, Griffith was under contract with CBS to do one more season of the show. However, he decided to leave the show to pursue another path in the industry; a movie career and other various projects. Then Griffith went on a few years later to star in Matlock from 1986-1995. During the Matlock series’ sixth season, he served as unofficial director, executive producer and writer for the show.

Griffith is survived by his wife, Cindi and his daughter, Dixie.

According to a 2011 public policy polling, Griffith was the third most popular man in North Carolina.

This beloved  icon will be missed by many generations.