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August 28, 2015

Andy Griffith sues sheriff's candidate for taking his name

by Joel Keller, posted Nov 12th 2006 12:02PM
Andy GriffithThis is the type of news that would have led Elaine Benes to shout "Get out!" and give one of her patented two-handed shoves, but I like to just call it a "too stupid not to be true" story:

Andy Griffith, the actor best known for playing Andy Taylor on The Andy Griffith Show and Ben Matlock on Matlock, is suing a man who ran and lost for sheriff of Grant County, Wis., for taking his name and using it during the campaign. I shit you not, TV fans: William Harold Fenrick legally changed his name to Andrew Jackson Griffith and ran for the sheriff's office under that name (the plaintiff's full name is Andy Samuel Griffith, by the way).

The suit claims that Fenrick made the change for the "sole purpose of taking advantage of Griffith's notoriety in an attempt to gain votes," and that he should go back to his former name and print disclaimers in area newspapers that he has nothing to do with the more famous Griffith. The actor is suing for copyright infringement and invasion of privacy.

For his part, Fenrick/Griffith says he didn't profit from the name change, but did admit to changing his name as a publicity stunt. "For such an American icon, it's a pretty un-American thing to do to me," he told the AP. By the way, Fenrick/Griffith came in third. Guess there weren't as many centenarians in Grant County as he thought there were, huh?

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What did you say about TV Squad?

Mostly Harmless?

November 12 2006 at 10:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

His brother Barney and his sister Elvis adviced him not to change his name.

November 12 2006 at 2:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brent McKee

The thing is that for someone like the "real" Andy Griffith, his name is a commodity. It is what he has to sell so of course he needs to protect his name from someone who is trying to profit - either in terms of money or fame - from making a deliberate effort to use it. Of course if Fenrick really wanted to create the image of someone who embodied American small town values, surely he would have been better off changing his name to "Andrew Jackson Taylor." But maybe that would have brought him a different law suit.

November 12 2006 at 1:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

In a related story, former president Andrew Jackson rises from the grave to sue the man for using his name, too.

This seems ridiculously ill-timed and would have been better had it come during the election,not less than a week before. Perhaps the real Griffith is upset that his name apparently didn't help Fenrick win many votes.

November 12 2006 at 12:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Great bloggage! I've included you in the newest installment of A Hitchhiker's Guide To The Blogosphere.

November 12 2006 at 12:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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