Legendary actor Andy Griffith portrayed Andy Taylor, the sheriff of Mayberry, on The Andy Griffith Show for eight seasons. His fictional character was a father to son Opie Taylor, played by Ron Howard, throughout the series. In his personal life, the Tony nominee adopted two children, daughter Dixie Nann Griffith, and late son Andy Samuel “Sam” Griffith Jr. Keep scrolling to learn more about Andy’s two children.  

Who Was Andy Griffith’s Son, Andy Samuel Griffith Jr.?

Andy and his first wife, Barbara Bray Edwards, got married in 1949. Andy Jr., better known as Sam, was born in 1957. The former couple adopted him the following year. Dixie was born in 1960 and adopted by the family shortly after. 

Andy Griffith Kids: Daughter Dixie, Late Son Andy Jr. Family Details 

The television star’s first marriage lasted until 1972. While Andy filmed his iconic series from 1960 to 1968, the family lived in between his North Carolina and California estates. Sam later went on to marry his wife, Renee Denise Griffith. In 1992, he was arrested and sentenced to three years of probation after a domestic dispute, which led his wife to suffer a miscarriage, per the Los Angeles Times

Sam died in 1996 at the age of 37 after suffering from alcohol addiction. Andy did not attend his son’s funeral but was heartbroken over his passing. 

“My brother had some troubles, but it wasn’t my dad’s fault,” Dixie told Closer in June 2018. “It affected my dad on a very, very deep level. I went to my brother’s funeral service, but my dad wasn’t able to go. There would be too many magazines and cameras, and it just wasn’t a good place for him to be.”

Andy’s children were kept out of the spotlight for most of their lives. The Matlock alum suffered his own health battles before his death in 2012 from a heart attack at the age of 86. He was married to his third wife, Cindi Knight, at the time of his death. 

Who Is Andy’s Daughter, Dixie Nann Griffith?

While Dixie did work as an apprentice on two of her father’s made-for-TV films, she ultimately chose not to pursue an acting and film career of her own. 

“I could have been on the producer’s roster. I chose not to,” she told the Denver Post in July 2012. “Same goes for growing up. I didn’t grow up in the spotlight. Of course, this was before people hid in the bushes outside your door and there were cameras everywhere. My dad was fiercely protective of us. I respected his privacy all my life. I have kept a pretty low profile, which I still plan on doing.”

Still, Dixie remembers spending time with her father when he wasn’t working on popular television shows in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s. 

“During the summers, we’d go back to North Carolina and play volleyball and water ski,” she recalled to Closer. “I would play with him in the pool, and he’d put me up on his shoulders. He’d always stop what he was doing to play with me.” 

Dixie has continued to keep most of the details of her personal life private, but she did welcome daughters of her own before her father’s death. 

​​“He had a very strong will to live and to enjoy his life,” she revealed. “And he did enjoy his life. One of his favorite things to say, when I’d share news of the girls, was, ‘Well, isn’t that grand!’”

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 for confidential support.