Santa Ana, CA – Had to post a quick blog entry about the passing of the great actor Andy Griffith, best known for the TV show The Andy Griffith Show . He was 86 years old, and very much a part of my life. In fact, it’s hard for me to see the people who have come to define the arc of my existence pass away – Deforest Kelley, James Doohan, Gene Rodenberry, George Lindsey, Don Cornelius, Dick Clark, Don Knotts, Tupac Shakur, Biggie Smalls, Whitney Houston, and the list goes on – because it makes me think about my own mortality.
But I digress.
Andy Griffith so effortlessly played his role of folksy everyman that you thought you knew him. His episodes on The Andy Griffith Show were a trip into a town you thought you knew. A TV reporter here in the LA area said that the show didn’t reflect the “turmoil of the 60s.” I have to tell you that as a guy who was a little boy during that time, there wasn’t so much more of that “turmoil” than there is today. In fact, I’d argue that there’s more turmoil now than then – especially considering terrorism.
But I digress.
Later in life, I enjoyed another Andy Griffith performance: as Ben Matlock in Matlock in 1986. He played this lawyer who seemed dumb because we as Americans tend to discount the intellect of anyone with a Southern accent, and used that perception to his advantage, winning cases for those who were disadvantaged in some way and needed help.
That’s how I remember Andy Griffith: as a good man who played good men on TV.