Andy Griffith has passed away. He was 86 wonderful years old, and the man had a great life, and touched a lot of people over the course of it. By all accounts, there wasn’t a nicer guy in television, and if you’ve seen interviews with him, he was exactly as you’d imagined him: The same guy you watched on “The Andy Griffith Show” and “Matlock,” a kind, gentle, wonderful old soul with a heart as big as North Carolina.
In addition to his two most famous shows (and their subsequent iterations in spin-offs and television movies), Griffith made a few films (most famously A Face in the Crowd and No Time for Sergeants) and he recorded a few albums, mostly old-timey numbers because that’s the way Andy Griffith was: Old school. He was also perfectly cast one of my favorite films of all time, Waitress, and everything about that role reminded me of what a pleasure it was to grow up watching him on television.
Maybe his biggest legacy, however, was in the way the man touched people, the lasting impression he left on friends like Don Knotts and the influence he had on Ron Howard. Not for nothing, but for latchkey kids growing up in the 80s and 90s, he not only provided a moral compass, he also provided something of a second home: A comfortable, familiar, and gentle place that came in and left with a whistle.
Earth has lost a good man, folks, but the afterlife has gained a treasure. Rest in Peace, Andy Griffith.