Actor Andy Griffith, who won the hearts of 1960s TV viewers with his role as gentle Sheriff Andy Taylor in The Andy Griffith Show, then returned as a 1980s country lawyer in Matlock, died Tuesday at 86, according to WITN-TV.
The news was reported to the North Carolina television station by Bill Friday, former president of the University of North Carolina and a Griffith friend.
Griffith began his entertainment career with comic monologues and moved into movies, debuting in 1957 s A Face in the Crowd with Patricia Neal. But it was as the widower sheriff Andy Taylor on The Andy Griffith Show that he really made his mark. The show, which also starred a young Ron Howard as Griffith s son Opie, and comedian Don Knotts as bumbling Deputy Barney Fife, ran from 1960-1968. Its setting, in the fictional small-town of Mayberry, became almost as famous as any one episode.