Andy Griffith was best known for his role as the wise and funny Sheriff Andy Taylor on the TV series "The Andy Griffith Show," which ended an eight-year run in 1968 in the top slot for ratings.
Before that he was a young stand-up comic from North Carolina who scored a big hit on "The Steve Allen Show" and "The Ed Sullivan Show." In 1955, he landed the plum role of naive Air Force Pvt. Will Stockdale in the live TV play "No Time for Sergeants." The hourlong telecast was so popular, it became a hit Broadway show and earned him a Tony nomination.
Elia Kazan then cast him in "A Face in the Crowd" (1957) as Lonesome Rhodes, a hard-drinking, hard-loving Arkansas hobo who, thanks to a bright young radio producer (Patricia Neal), becomes an overnight sensation.
In the 1980s, Griffith found new success on television as cantankerous defense attorney Benjamin Matlock. "Matlock" ran for nine seasons. At the age of 81, Griffith appeared in "Waitress" (2007), his first live-action role in six years, earning critical acclaim for his performance as the owner of a diner. He has also had a successful recording career as a gospel singer, selling hundreds of thousands of albums through TV commercials.
Griffith died July 3, 2012, at his home in Manteo, N.C. His was 86.