Television icon Andy Griffith, best known as the sage town sheriff in the ’60s sitcom The Andy Griffith Show and as a cantankerous defense attorney on 1980s-’90s drama Matlock, died today in Roanoke Island, N.C. He was 86 years old. Friend and former University of North Carolina president Bill Friday confirmed the news to WITN News, an NBC affiliate in Washington, N.C.
We asked Ron Howard, who played Andy Griffith’s son Opie on The Andy Griffith Show, about his favorite memories about his TV Dad.
“There was a fantastic equilibrium between his love of laughter and jokes and funny stories and songs and all that, and then he could turn on a dime and be the utmost professional….If people who met him were to be surprised [to learn something about him] it would be this sort of simple commitment to excellence. This straightforward work ethic that he adhered to in a very unpretentious way with great humility and very few words.”