Actor Andy Griffith, who is best known as the star of “The Andy Griffith Show,” died this morning at the age of 86, according to multiple reports.
NBC affiliate WITN confirmed the actor’s death with former UNC President Bill Friday, who was a close friend of the star. Friday told the station that Griffith died in his North Carolina home at around 7 a.m.
Director Ron Howard, who played Andy’s son Opie on the “Griffith Show,” reacted to his television father’s death on Twitter.
“Andy Griffith His pursuit of excellence and the joy he took in creating served generations & shaped my life I’m forever grateful RIP Andy,” Howard posted.
Griffith made his film debut in the 1957 movie “A Face in the Crowd,” which co-starred Patricia Neal and Walter Matthau. However, the actor found his greatest fame on TV, where he starred as Sheriff Andy Taylor in “The Andy Griffith Show,” set in fictional Mayberry, North Carolina, from 1960-1968. He went on to appear in the popular legal drama “Matlock” from 1986-1995.
Over the last several years, Griffith occasionally appeared in movies, such as “Waitress” (2007) and “Play the Game” (2008), but had generally remained out of the public eye. In 2005, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George W. Bush.
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