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December 21, 2014

'The Andy Griffith Show' Cast: Where Are They Now?

by Pat Gallagher, posted Oct 1st 2010 2:30PM
Andy Griffith Show'The Andy Griffith Show' is one of the most beloved TV sitcoms of all time. Originally televised on CBS from Oct. 3, 1960 to Apr. 1, 1968, the show ended its final season at No. 1 and consistently ranked in the top 10. More recently, the show has taken on a new life in TV Land reruns.

Andy Griffith had already made a name for himself in movies like 'A Face in the Crowd' and 'No Time for Sergeants,' when he agreed to star in his own TV show as the widowed Sheriff Andy Taylor, who didn't have to carry a gun in the small country town of Mayberry, N.C.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of 'The Andy Griffith Show,' we thought we'd catch up with the cast members -- arguably the best character actors in the business -- who appeared on the show over the years, and who'll be forever embedded in the minds and memories of millions of Mayberry fans.

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Andy Griffith Show: Where Are They Now

Andy Griffith
(Andy Taylor)


Then: The handsome homespun actor had already made his mark in movies and had a hit record under his belt, 'What It Was, Was Football,' when he shot the pilot for 'The Andy Griffith Show.' Based on a small-town sheriff he originally portrayed on the Danny Thomas show, 'Make Room for Daddy,' Griffith played the part as a "heavy-handed country bumpkin" in the first season, but soon realized that he should play the straight man to Knotts' high-octane character. We ended up loving Andy Taylor because we loved Andy Griffith.

Andy Griffith Show: Where Are They Now

Andy Griffith
(Andy Taylor)


Now: After leaving Mayberry in 1968, it took 18 years for Griffith to regain prominence in a TV role. Playing country attorney extraordinaire Ben Matlock in the legal drama 'Matlock' (1986-95), he enjoyed another ratings bonanza, and the show was nominated for four Emmy Awards. Although Griffith appeared in the Brad Paisley video 'Waitin' On a Woman' in 2008, the 84-year-old actor is now living in happy semi-retirement with his third wife Cindi in a small town in North Carolina.

Andy Griffith Show: Where Are They Now

Don Knotts
(Barney Fife)


Then: The five-time Emmy winner played the small-town, over-anxious deputy who carried an unloaded gun -- stashing one bullet in his pocket (just in case). Knotts got his big TV break in the soap opera 'Search for Tomorrow' in 1953. In 1956, he became famous on 'The Steve Allen Show' as the nervous, quivering "Man in the Street." His character of Fife may have come off as being the funniest sitcom character of all time, but he couldn't have pulled it off without being handed the baton from teammate Griffith. They were truly one of the best comedy duos in the history of television.

Andy Griffith Show: Where Are They Now

Don Knotts
(Barney Fife)


Now: Knotts left Mayberry in 1965 and signed a five-year film contract with Universal Studios. He went on to star in a series of film comedies such as 'The Incredible Mr. Limpet,' 'The Ghost and Mr. Chicken' and 'The Shakiest Gun in the West.' He also made guest appearances in Mayberry several times in the late '60s. In 1970, he starred in his own variety TV series, and was later teamed with comedian Tim Conway in a series of slapstick movies, most notably 'The Apple Dumpling Gang.' In 1979, he began a successful stint in the recurring role of landlord Ralph Furley on 'Three's Company.' Don Knotts died on Feb. 24 2006 in Los Angeles from pulmonary and respiratory complications related to lung cancer.

Andy Griffith Show: Where Are They Now

Ron Howard
(Opie Taylor)


Then: Ronnie Howard was only six years old in 1960 when he began playing the role of the always-obedient Opie Taylor, son of Mayberry's sheriff, Andy Taylor. His cheerful disposition and penchant for never telling a lie made him one of the most popular child actors ever to grace the small screen. After leaving the show in 1968, the California native landed another all-American, boy-next-door role as Richie Cunningham on 'Happy Days' from 1974 to 1980.

Andy Griffith Show: Where Are They Now

Ron Howard
(Opie Taylor)


Now: Since retiring from acting, Ron Howard has become one of Hollywood's most successful movie directors. His credits include 'Splash,' 'Cocoon,' 'Apollo 13, 'A Beautiful Mind' (for which he won an Academy Award in 2002 for Best Director), 'The Da Vinci Code' and 'Angels & Demons.' It's hard to believe that "Opie" (sorry Ope, that's who you'll always be to 'TAGS' fans) is not only a father of four, who married his childhood sweetheart, but is also a grandfather. His actress daughter Bryce Dallas Howard ('The Twilight Saga: Eclipse') gave birth to his first grandson in 2007.

Andy Griffith Show: Where Are They Now

Frances Bavier
(Aunt Bee)


Then: A Columbia graduate who first appeared in vaudeville before moving to the Broadway stage, Bavier played everybody's favorite aunt, Aunt Bee from 1960 to 1970, winning an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Comedy Actress in 1967. We loved Aunt Bee because she had a heart of gold. Bavier appeared in 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents,' 'Perry Mason' and 'Wagon Train,' as well as more than a dozen films.

Now: Bavier, who briefly returned to acting in 1974's 'Benji,' retired to Siler City, N.C. Ill health prevented the actress from reprising her role in the 1986's 'Return to Mayberry,' and she died at home on Dec. 6, 1989 (eight days shy of her 87th birthday) from heart disease and cancer. Her headstone in Siler City reads: "Frances E. Bavier, 'Aunt Bee' ... 'To live in the hearts of those left behind is not to die'."

Andy Griffith Show: Where Are They Now

Jim Nabors
(Gomer Pyle)


Then: After graduating from the University of Alabama, Nabors eventually moved Los Angeles, where he moonlighted at a Santa Monica tavern, The Horn, singing and acting (portraying a character much like the high-pitched Gomer Pyle character he would later portray). Griffith caught his act and later invited him to make a one-shot appearance as the air-brained gas station attendant. His character proved to be so popular, he became a regular on the show, later starring in a spin-off, 'Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.,' where his character joined the United States Marine Corp. We loved Gomer because of his eternal optimism. His elevator may not have gone all the way to the top, but we were willing to get off at any floor if he was on it.

Andy Griffith Show: Where Are They Now

Jim Nabors
(Gomer Pyle)


Now: Nabors turned in his military uniform after five years, hoping to continue his singing career. He hosted his own variety show, 'The Jim Nabors Hour' (1969-71), until its cancellation, when he then embarked on a nationwide road tour (he has recorded over 30 albums). In the 1970s, he appeared in every season premiere of 'The Carol Burnett Show' and hosted his own variety show again. In the 1980s, he starred in three Burt Reynolds movies: 'The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,' 'Stroker Ace' and 'Cannonball Run II.' Nabors received a life-saving liver transplant in 1994, and he currently lives in retirement in Hawaii. For 38 years, he has sung 'Back Home Again in Indiana' with the Purdue All-American Marching Band before each Indianapolis 500.

Andy Griffith Show: Where Are They Now

Betty Lynn
(Thelma Lou)


Then: Betty Lynn began her career in radio, later hitting the Broadway stage. She made her film debut in the 1948 film 'Sitting Pretty,' opposite Robert Young. After guest-starring in several TV series, she won the role of Barney Fife's girlfriend, which she played from 1961 to 1965. Thelma Lou, who loved Barney Fife unconditionally, apparently was never wise to the fact that her boyfriend occasionally carried on with a little diner waitress named Juanita, although she did try to kiss Gomer Pyle once in a feeble attempt to make Barney jealous. We loved Thelma Lou because she was soft-spoken and a forgiving girlfriend when Barney got mixed up with those two "fun girls," Daphne (Jean Carson) and Skippy (Joyce Jameson).

Andy Griffith Show: Where Are They Now






And more updates ...


Hope Summers (Clara Edwards)
Then:
Hope springs eternal (no pun intended) as this late-blooming actress didn't roll into Hollywood to begin her career as a character actress until the age of 55. She made guest appearances on dozens of television series including 'Wagon Train,' 'My Three Sons,' 'Hazel' and 'Gunsmoke.' She'll always be remembered for her role as Aunt Bee's gossipy best friend, Clara Edwards, during her tenure on 'TAGS.'

Now: Ms. Summers made a few appearances on the 'TAGS' spinoff 'Mayberry R.F.D.' Her television credits after Mayberry included giest spots in 'Marcus Welby, M.D,' 'Hawaii Five-O,' 'Chico and the Man' and 'Welcome Back Kotter.' Although her film work was usually limited to small roles, she played Mrs. Gilmore in the 1968 movie, 'Rosemary's Baby.' She was still acting until the year before her death from heart failure in 1979, at the age of 83.


Hal Smith (Otis Campbell)
Then:
Portraying the lovable town drunk was the polar opposite of Smith's real-life persona, as he was teetotal. Otis frequently locked himself in the Mayberry jail at night after a visit to the local moonshiner. He never caused havoc or was a trouble-maker while inebriated, so his character didn't cause a stir at the time. Campbell worked as a disc jockey and voice talent for WIBX Radio in Utica, N.Y. from 1936-43. He was one of the most sought-after voice actors in Hollywood, providing voices for many Disney and Hanna-Barbera cartoons in the '60s and '70s. His early TV credits included 'I Married Joan,' 'The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet' and 'The Red Skelton Show.'

Now: Otis Campbell stopped appearing on 'TAGS' at the end of the run due to concerns over the portrayal of his character's excessive drinking. Smith returned in the 1986 TV movie 'Return to Mayberry' as the town's ice cream truck driver, having licked his drinking problem. He later used his Otis Campbell character in commercials for Mothers Against Drunk Driving and appeared in Alan Jackson's 'Don't Rock the Juke Box' music video. The New York native worked in many television commercials, including Toyota, Green Giant, Pizza Hut, Chicken of the Sea and hundreds of others. He died of a heart attack on Jan. 28, 1994, at the age of 77.


Denver Pyle (Briscoe Darling)
Then:
Briscoe Darling and his hillbilly clan made life interesting for Andy Taylor when they came down from the mountain, as Andy had to fend off romantic overtures from sweet little mountaineer daughter Charlene Darling (played by Maggie Peterson) on more than one occasion. The sheriff had to figure out a way to keep Helen Crump from marrying one of the sons of those pioneers, get Opie out of a marital contract with Charlene's infant daughter Andilina, and stop Briscoe from courting Aunt Bee (picture it). We loved Briscoe because he was a lovable, civil hillbilly family man and because he knew how to play "the jug" better than any other musician we can name.

Now: Pyle jumped into another exceptional role when he was cast as Uncle Jesse Duke in the CBS series 'The Dukes of Hazard' (1979-85). Later in life he had camoe roles in several television series. His last movie role was alongside James Garner, Jodie Foster and Mel Gibson in the 1994 film 'Maverick,' playing a cheating card player who jumps off a riverboat. He reprised his role of Uncle Jesse in the 1997 television movie 'The Dukes of Hazzard: Reunion!' Pyle died of lung cancer on Christmas Day in 1997 at the age of 77.

Mayberry Days in Mount Airy, N.C. takes place Sept. 23-6. Stay tuned to TV Squad for full coverage!

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rdnwen

Why didn't Andy marry Helen Crump???

July 23 2012 at 10:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rdnwen's comment
rhms082554

In the television show, The Andy Griffith Show, they only dated and never married. However, in the spin-off show Mayberry R.F.D, they do get married in the first episode

October 24 2012 at 8:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
marlyn

love the andy griffith show. Barney was suppose to be Andy''s cousin but it was only mentiioned once in all the shows?

March 11 2012 at 10:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to marlyn's comment
cor1_2_9

it was mentioned in at least 2 episodes.

April 28 2012 at 6:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rob

Who played the little old lady Emma Watson. She appeared in the first season with Elinor Donohue & also as the replacement manicurist at Floyd's barber shop. Probably a couple other cameo appearences. I have seen her name before. As I recall, a most unusual name. Reminds me of Vaudville acctresses.

November 28 2010 at 3:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Rob's comment
ddnmartin!

Emma Watson was played by Cheerio Meredith.

August 01 2011 at 10:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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