Is Andy Griffith Still Alive: Which Cast Members of the Show Are Still Living?

While younger viewers are more likely to have seen “The Andy Griffith Show” on TVLand or another rerun network, older viewers may recall that the show originally aired on CBS from 1960 to 1968. The show was a huge hit during its run on the network and has maintained its popularity for decades since its cancellation.

According to Classic TV Hits, the show consistently ranked in the top seven in the Nielsen ratings during its entire run, and it even topped the charts in its final two seasons.

Griffith played Andy Taylor, the fictional sheriff of the town of Mayberry, North Carolina, in the show. Griffith told the New York Times in 1965 that the show’s good message was the key to its success. “I think it is because we — everyone on the show — have a real sense of community, of kindness toward one another,” he said. “The basic rule by which we live comes through on the program, kindness comes through.”

Is Andy Griffith Still Alive?

The American Andy Samuel Griffith had a seven-decade long career in music and television as an actor, comedian, TV producer, southern gospel singer, and writer.

For the first seven months of his life, Griffith was unable to walk after being diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome in April 1983. On May 9, 2000, he went to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in Norfolk, Virginia, to undergo quadruple heart bypass surgery.

Is Andy Griffith Still Alive

Griffith, who lived on the coast of North Carolina’s Dare County, passed away on July 3, 2012, at the age of 86, after a heart attack at his home on Manteo Beach on Roanoke Island. Five hours after his passing, he was laid to rest in the Griffith family plot on the island.

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Which Cast Members of the Show Are Still Living?

  • Ron Howard

Ronald William Howard, born in Duncan, Oklahoma on March 1, 1954 to actors Rance and Jean Howard, had his acting debut at the tender age of six in the role of Opie Taylor on the Griffith Show. Years later, he took on the part of the almost as clean-cut adolescent Richie Cunningham on Happy Days in an effort to distance himself from the sweet, innocent persona he had built for himself as a young Taylor.

Ultimately, Howard decided to leave his position as a writer and producer on the ABC sitcom to focus on filmmaking. His first feature picture, Grand Theft Auto, was a hit with audiences, and his subsequent films from major studios, Splash and Night Shift, also did well at the box office.

Successes like Parenthood, Apollo 13, and Ransom followed one another for Howard. When A Beautiful Mind won two Academy Awards in 2002, including Best Director, he told TAF it was “a relief.”

In 2020, Howard released the cinematic adaptation of his book Hillbilly Elegy, and more recently, he announced that he will serve as an executive producer on a documentary about the legendary television chef Julia Child. His brother, Clint, also had cameos on The Andy Griffith Show, and the two of them are writing a memoir together, titled The Boys, which comes out in October 2021. Howard and his wife Cheryl have been married for 46 years as of recent.

  • Keith Thibodeaux

Is Andy Griffith Still Alive

Keith Thibodeaux, who was born in Louisiana in 1950 and played the role of Opie’s best friend Johnny Paul Jason on the comedy, was not a primary cast member for the show. It wasn’t long after he finished off his role as Little Ricky Ricardo on I Love Lucy and The Desi-Lucy Comedy Hour that he began making guest appearances on Griffith.

Thibodeaux, who is one of the few original cast members who is still alive, recently reflected on his time spent working on The Andy Griffith Show, telling The Austin Chronicle that “The Andy Griffith Show was a wonderful experience. The set was more laid back, more country…[than I Love Lucy]; they (the actors) were basically like they were on the show. Andy would play checkers with the make-up man… he’d often strum his guitar with the cast in the back. It was just a good, down-home set.”

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  • Elinor Donahue

Elinor Donahue is one of the members of the show’s cast who is still active in the world today. In the pilot season of the sitcom Griffith, she played the role of Andy Taylor’s first on-screen love interest, despite the fact that she was not a regular member of the show’s main cast.

She made the decision to leave the show after perhaps a dozen episodes, and the former star of Father Knows Best went on to act in other television series, one of which was the smash success from the 1970s, The Odd Couple.

Mary Eleanor Donahue was born on April 19, 1937, and according to IMDb, her last performance on television was in 2011 on the serial opera The Young and the Restless.

What Was His Role in the Show?

The Andy Griffith Show, which starred Griffith as Sheriff Andy Taylor, premiered on the CBS television network in September 1960. During the show’s run, Taylor, a widower, served as both sheriff and town sage in the made-up North Carolina town of Mayberry. The interior shots for the show were captured at Desilu Studios, while exteriors were shot in Forty Acres in Culver City, California.

Is Andy Griffith Still Alive

Don Knotts, a lifelong friend of Griffith’s, played Taylor’s best buddy and comic sidekick, Deputy Barney Fife, on the show from 1960 to 1965. In the beginning of the show, he was also Taylor’s cousin, but later on, they just said that they’d known each other since they were kids.

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Although Knotts and Frances Bavier both received several Emmy Award nominations and wins for their humorous performances during the show’s run, Griffith was never nominated for an award.

Griffith had committed to CBS for one more season of the show in 1967. But he ultimately left the show to focus on his film career and other endeavours. Mayberry R.F.D. continued the series, starring Ken Berry as a widowed farmer and featuring many of the original cast members in various capacities.

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