Beloved TV Star, Andy Griffith, 86, died this morning at his home in Dare County, North Carolina around 7 a.m.
I watched Griffith compulsively as a kid on “The Andy Griffith Show” and I’m not going to lie…I catch it in re runs sometimes on TV Land.
The show’s gentle comedy centered on small town life in North Carolina, based on Griffith’s experiences in his hometown, Mt. Airy. Stock characters like Gomer Pyle, Floyd the Barber and Andy’s side kick, Barney Fife were funny without falling too deeply into stereotype. And of course, The Andy Griffith Show introduced us to child actor, Ronnie Howard, who would eventually go on to become a producer and the A list movie director.
But, I could not post news of Andy Griffith’s passing without mentioning what is arguably his greatest role of all. In 1957 Griffith starred in the movie, A Face in A Crowd with Patricia Neal. The film dealt with the scary influence and power of what was at that time, the newish medium of television. The film’s insights on the medium, and the cult of personality it could create, were prescient and still resonate 50 + years later.
As Lonesome Rhodes, Griffith played a drunken wanna be country singer who is given his break by a New York television producer and eventually morphs into a monster who wields massive influence over his fans–until a spectacular fall.
And to keep this Idol related–tweets from a couple of Idol winners.
Phillip Phillips tweets, “Cant believe Andy Griffith passed away today. Loved his show. Prayers go out to the family. Use to watch it all the time with my papa.”
Scotty McCreery tweets, “RIP Andy Griffith.. We lost a legend today that provided me and my family some great quality time around the tv filled with some good laughs”
A Face In A Crowd Trailer
A Face in the Crowd – Pivotal scene with Patricia Neal
Lonesome’s TV producer, played by Patricia Neal, realizes she’s created a monster.