The Common Good

Gone Fishin': Andy Griffith Has Died

Andy Griffith tribute image by via Facebook.
Andy Griffith tribute image by via Facebook.

Beloved TV actor Andy Griffith has died, according to multiple news reports. He was 86.

USA Today reports:

Griffith died this morning.

Former UNC President Bill Friday says The Andy Griffith Show and Matlock actor died at his home in Dare County, North Carolina around 7 a.m.

Friday, who is a close friend of the actor, confirmed the news to WITN News.

Emergency medical crews responded to Griffith's home this morning, Dare County Sheriff J.D. Doughtie told

Griffith, who was born in Mt. Airy, N.C., was launched to fame as Sheriff Andy Taylor in The Andy Griffith Show for the CBS from 1960-1968. On the show, Ron Howard played his son, Opie. He starred on other shows and in films, but found his greatest success again with legal drama Matlock, from 1986 to 1995. He played the title character, Ben Matlock.

In 2000, Griffith underwent quadruple heart-bypass surgery and in 2007 had hip surgery after a fall.

Read the complete report HERE.

Mr. Griffith was a Christian believer who was not shy to speak publicly about his spiritual journey. In a 1996 interview with Guideposts magazine, the actor talked about his struggle with Guillain-Barr syndrome, a painful, debilitating neurological disorder, saying, "I firmly believe that in every situation, no matter how difficult, God extends grace greater than the hardship, and strength and peace of mind that can lead us to a place higher than where we were before."

He went on to explain how he felt God led him into acting, which would become his life-long vocation. 

Mr. Griffith said:

I entered the university of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a pre-ministerial student with a major in sociology (which I hated). Having finished Latin, Greek and on my way to Hebrew -- I went to see the Bishop of the Moravian Church in Winston-Salem to ask him if I could major in music and still be a minister. He said no. And that I could not serve God by singing Light Opera. (I don't know where he got Light Opera.) But anyway, I changed my major to music and of course did not become a preacher. I did owe the church $80.00 which I eventually paid back.

After graduation I took a job teaching high school choral music in Goldsboro, North Carolina. I was director of the choir at the First Baptist Church there and for a while I conducted the community chorus.

I taught for three years and was not good at it -- better than I would have been at preaching -- but still not good. Then I went to New York for that fateful audition.

The man who told me my voice was awful didn't know what a great favor he was doing me. Although I had trained all those years to be a singer, I believed him. I didn't know what I would do, but something or Someone was guiding me. I often say, "Mr. Jesus will lead me to it." I guess that's it.

See video
in peace, Andy. You will be sorely missed.

Here's a rare version of The Andy Griffith Show theme song, sung by Mr. Griffith himself.

See video
, now, take down your fishin' pole and meet me at The Fishin' Hole,
We may not get a bite all day, but don't you rush away.

What a great place to rest your bones and mighty fine for skippin' stones,
You'll feel fresh as a lemonade, a-settin' in the shade.

Whether it's hot, whether it's cool, oh what a spot for whistlin' like a fool.

What a fine day to take a stroll and wander by The Fishin' Hole,
I can't think of a better way to pass the time o' day.

We'll have no need to call the roll when we get to The Fishin' Hole,
There'll be you, me, and Old Dog Trey, to doodle time away.

If we don't hook a perch or bass, we'll cool our toes in dewy grass,
Or else pull up a weed to chaw, and maybe set and jaw.

Hangin' around, takin' our ease, watchin' that hound a-scratchin' at his fleas.

Come on, take down your fishin' pole and meet me at The Fishin' Hole,
I can't think of a better way to pass the time o' day.

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