Andy Griffith, who played Sheriff Andy Taylor in the fictional town of Mayberry, died Tuesday at the age of 86. According to Dare County, North Carolina, Sheriff J.D. Doughtie. Mr. Griffith died around 7 a.m. at his home on Roanoke Island.
His body was buried Tuesday morning less than five hours after he died. At the request of his family, Griffith’s body was lowered into a grave on the island at about 11:30 a.m. ET.
Griffith known for his role on “The Andy Griffith Show,” also starred as a murder-solving Southern attorney in the television series “Matlock” during the 1980s and 1990s.
An endearing cast of characters helped make The Andy Griffith Show one of the most beloved comedies in the history of TV. Introduced as a spin-off from The Danny Thomas Show in 1960, The Andy Griffith Show ran for eight seasons in prime-time. The Andy Griffith Show halted production while it was still No. 1 in the ratings. When Andy Griffith exited the series in 1968, Councilman Sam Jones (played by Ken Berry) took over as the sheriff of Mayberry. Re-christened Mayberry, R.F.D., the series ran for three seasons. The town of Mayberry then retreated into the world of reruns, where it has remained pleasantly unchanged ever since.
In 1983, Griffith was suddenly stricken with Guillen-Barre syndrome, a crippling muscular disease that left him partially paralyzed for three months. After six months of private rehabilitation, he made a full recovery and was able to return to acting.
Griffith was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts Hall of Fame in 1992. In 2005, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, one of the country’s highest civilian honors.
Ron Howard expressed his condolences Tuesday via his Twitter page. “Andy Griffith. His pursuit of excellence and the joy he took in creating served generations & shaped my life I’m forever grateful. RIP Andy.”