He was as American as apple pie, so it’s in a way fitting that he passed away so close to America’s birthday. Andy Griffith died at his North Carolina home at age 86 Tuesday morning. His death was confirmed in a statement from the Dare County, N.C., sheriff’s office. Griffith died at his home on Roanoke Island, Dare County, N.C., at approximately 7 a.m. “Andy Griffith passed away, after an illness … Mr. Griffith has been laid to rest on his beloved Roanoke Island,” explained a statement from Griffith’s family. “Andy was a person of incredibly strong Christian faith and was prepared for the day he would be called Home to his Lord,” the actor’s wife, Cindi Griffith, said in a statement. Griffith’s long media career began after success on Broadway, with a break through movie role starring in “A Face In The Crowd”, as a character who was a complete opposite of the TV role that would eventually land him a place in America’s heart forever, “The Andy Griffith Show”. Most critics consider the show, which ran from 1960 to 1968, one of the top four or five sitcoms ever shown on television, and it was one of only three series in history to end its run at the top of the ratings. “I Love Lucy” and “Seinfeld” also bowed out on top. Griffith made a big return to television in 1986, playing the title role in the TV legal drama “Matlock, which aired until 1995. Griffith never forgot about his music roots. He received a Grammy Award for best Southern, country or bluegrass gospel album for “I Love to Tell the Story: 25 Timeless Hymns,” in 1997. Griffith received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush in 2005.
| July 3, 2012 at 8:53 a.m.