Andy Griffith dead at 86; NC reacts
DARE COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Legendary actor Andy Griffith has died at his home in Dare County.
The first word of Griffith’s death came from former University of North Carolina President Bill Friday, a close friend of Griffith’s. Dare County Sheriff Doug Doughtie says in statement Griffith died Tuesday at about 7 a.m. He says the family will release further information.
Griffith is best known for his 1960s TV show “The Andy Griffith Show” set in the fictional town of Mayberry, NC. He also starred in the late 1980s and early ’90s in the crime drama “Matlock,” which filmed its last three seasons in Wilmington.
Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) learned of Griffith’s death while doing an interview at WWAY.
“He put North Carolina on the map,” Sen. Hagan said. “Mayberry, NC. So many people have heard about it and responded, and although it’s a fictional town, Andy Griffith is an iconic figure that I think represents the best of southern hospitality and a southern gentlemen. I’ve met him. I know a lot of people that know Andy Griffith very well, and, oh, my goodness, North Carolina has benefited from this man’s presence.”
Hagan’s Republican colleague in the US Senate Richard Burr and his wife Brooke also offered their condolences.
“Brooke and I were very sad to learn of the passing of Andy Griffith today,” Sen. Burr said in a statement. “Andy was a true North Carolina icon who introduced many people across the country and across the world to our great state for the first time. While his passing is sad, the legacy he leaves through his work on television and in his community will remain timeless, and future generations will be able to enjoy and appreciate his talent for years to come.”
Among Griffith’s TV credits are campaign ads for Bev Perdue when the Democrat ran for governor in 2008. Today the governor eulogized her friend.
“North Carolina has lost its favorite son,” Gov. Perdue said in a statement. “Andy Griffith graciously stepped into the living rooms of generations of Americans, always with the playful charm that made him the standard by which entertainers would be measured for decades. Throughout his career, he represented everything that was good about North Carolina: a small town boy and UNC graduate who took a light-hearted approach to some of the attributes he grew up with and turned them into a spectacularly successful career. And regardless of where that career took him, he always came back to North Carolina and spent his final years here. In an increasingly complicated world, we all yearn for the days of Mayberry. We all will miss Andy, and I will dearly miss my friend.”
Lt. Gov Walter Dalton, who is also the Democratic Party’s candidate for governor said in a statement: “I am saddened to hear of the passing of Andy Griffith, a true legend. I have been a longtime fan, and it was my pleasure to come to know him. Andy Griffith was not only an icon for North Carolina, but he was a genuine person and a true gentleman. Lucille and a send our thoughts and prayers to Cindi and the entire Griffith family.”
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