I learned of Andy Griffith's death from my friend Chris less than an hour ago. Andy Griffith is something of a hero to Chris, so when he offered to do a write-up about what the actor had meant to him, I immediately said yes. Turns out Mr Griffith made quite a mark on Chris' life--despite the fact that they never met. And while I also never met Mr. Griffith, I always respected him not just for his acting ability, but for his talent of making shows that touched so many people and their families.
Today’s sad news is the death of Andy Griffith, at the age of 86. While it seems I am the TV blog’s resident eulogy writer, I think really it just cements the fact that I am, at my very core, an old woman.
Why do I care so much about Andy’s death? Well, first and foremost, he is the reason I am a lawyer. No, seriously. When I was growing up, I watched Matlock with my great-grandfather. I loved that show, and still do. I vowed at a young age I wanted to be a lawyer just like Matlock, and never looked back. Grey suit and murder trials aside, I fulfilled that promise. My only other career ambition was to take over The Price Is Right after Bob Barker...but they filled that position without consulting me.
I even planned my college class schedule around the noon-1pm showing of Matlock and, when I went with my friend Beth to Atlanta, we tried to hunt down the Fulton County Courthouse (as it turns out, the building used for the show is actually in LA, and our search was in vain). Just like Golden Girls, I’ve seen every episode numerous times, and could name the murderer almost at the outset of every show.
Aside from Matlock, Andy is of course most well-known for The Andy Griffith Show, set in the fictional town of Mayberry, which was based on his hometown of Mount Airy, NC. More than once, they would refer to Roanoke in the show, which as nerdy as it sounds, made me think Roanoke was a big deal! Plus, my mom nicknamed me Opie when I was little because of my freckles and big ears (that thankfully I grew into).
After Matlock, his last recurring role on TV, Andy moved out of the spotlight, retiring to a quiet life in his home state of N.C.. But, he’ll never be gone, since both The Andy Griffith Show and Matlock continue in syndication. RIP Andy, we’ll miss you!