Actor Andy Griffith dies in North Carolina at 86

Tue Jul 3, 2012 5:40pm EDT
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By Bill Trott and Jane Sutton

(Reuters) - Actor Andy Griffith, whose portrayal of a small-town sheriff made "The Andy Griffith Show" one of television's most enduring programs, died on Tuesday at his North Carolina home at age 86.

Griffith died at about 7 a.m. at his home on Roanoke Island, Dare County Sheriff J.D. Doughtie said.

His wife of three decades, Cindi Griffith, was at his bedside and issued a statement saying: "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."

The family said Griffith "has been laid to rest on his beloved Roanoke Island," but did not elaborate.

Griffith created another memorable TV character, the folksy defense lawyer in "Matlock" in the 1980s and 1990s, but it was his role as Sheriff Andy Taylor on the "The Andy Griffith Show" in the 1960s that gave him a place in television history.

The show depicted life in the friendly, slow-moving fictional town of Mayberry, North Carolina, which was widely believed to have been based on Griffith's own hometown, Mount Airy, in that state.

"North Carolina has lost its favorite son," Governor Beverly Perdue said. "Andy Griffith graciously stepped into the living rooms of generations of Americans, always with the playful charm that made him the standard by which entertainers would be measured for decades ... In an increasingly complicated world, we all yearn for the days of Mayberry."

President Barack Obama said he was saddened to hear of Griffith's death.   Continued...

A wreath of flowers is pictured on the star of actor Andy Griffith on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood, California July 3, 2012. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni