Griffith became a household name with his eponymous show, “The Andy Griffith Show,” playing Andy Taylor the sheriff, the Justice of the Peace, the editor of the local newspaper, and the mayor of a fictitious town named Mayberry. It’s also where Ron Howard, American film director, producer and former child actor came to prominence playing Opie Taylor.
The show, which debuted in 1960, drew criticism for the lack of black actors. In an explanation of the show on a documentary, the response was that if there were any African Americans 0n the show in major roles, the storyline would have to complement the times, then the show would not be in reruns today (implying that blacks would have been mistreated in a southern town in the 1960s).
Griffith went on to star in the long-running legal series, “Matlock,” playing the role of the title character, attorney Ben Matlock. He often made guest appearances in other shows, including “Dawson’s Creek.”
There’s a famous statue of Andy and Opie in Raleigh, North Carolina. –yvette caslin