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Earlier today, legendary television entertainer, movie actor, director, singer and writer Andy Griffith died in his Manteo, North Carolina home at the age of 86 this morning. Best known as the star of The Andy Griffith Show, where he played the sheriff of the fictional town of Mayberry, Griffith won many awards including an Emmy for his role in the television film Murder in Texas, a Grammy in 1997 for Best Southern Gospel, Country Gospel Or Bluegrass Gospel Album and was presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush in 2005.
Ron Howard, who began his career as Griffith’s television son Opie on The Andy Griffith Show, spoke to Deadline about his respect for Griffith and his passion for his work and creativity.
“His love of creating, the joy he took in it whether it was drama or comedy or his music, was inspiring to grow up around,” Howard told Deadline. “The spirit he created on the set of The Andy Griffith Show was joyful and professional all at once. It was an amazing environment. And I think it was a reflection of the way he felt about having the opportunity to create something that people could enjoy. It was always with respect and passion for the opportunity and really what it could offer people in a very unpretentious and earthy way. He felt he was always working in service of an audience he really respected and cared about. He was a great influence on me. His passing is sad. But he lived and a great rich life.”
Howard also posted on Twitter, saying, “His pursuit of excellence and the joy he took in creating served generations & shaped my life I’m forever grateful RIP Andy.”