Summer residents of Roanoke Island, N.C., became accustomed to the sight of a familiar-looking man running errands to the hardware store barefoot, or sometimes without a shirt.
“He was not the typical Hollywood type,” Andy Griffith’s daughter, Dixie, tells Closer, adding that her father, who passed away in 2012 at 86, was “gracious” to fans and “felt free” in his home state of North Carolina.
Andy became a household name in the 60s with his self-titled small-town sitcom, and while he embodied many of the simple virtues of Sheriff Andy Taylor and his other most famous character, Matlock’s folksy attorney Ben Matlock, his friends and family paint a picture of a much more complex man.
Andy as Sheriff Andy Taylor on The Andy Griffith Show in 1965.
Andy was a dedicated father who struggled with his three marriages. He was a workaholic who could be demanding, but a consummate professional who was beloved by his costars.
“Andy was unbelievably playful,” Ron Howard, who starred as Opie, tells Closer. “He was also very thoughtful — and a good leader, because it wasn’t all fun and games.”