Andy Samuel "Sam" Griffith, Jr.(adopted, deceased)
Andy Samuel Griffith (June 1, 1926 – July 3, 2012) was an American actor, television producer, Grammy Award-winning Southern-gospel singer, and writer. He was a Tony Award nominee for two roles, and gained prominence in the starring role in director Elia Kazan's film A Face in the Crowd (1957) before he became better known for his television roles, playing the lead characters in the 1960–1968 situation comedy The Andy Griffith Show and in the 1986–1995 legal drama Matlock.
The Andy Griffith Show is an American sitcom first televised on CBS between October 3, 1960 and April 1, 1968. Andy Griffith portrays the widowed sheriff of the fictional small community of Mayberry, North Carolina. His life is complicated by an inept, but well-meaning deputy, Barney Fife (Don Knotts), a spinster aunt and housekeeper, Aunt Bee (Frances Bavier), and a precocious young son, Opie (Ron Howard). Local ne'er-do-wells, bumbling pals, and temperamental girlfriends further complicate his life. Andy Griffith stated in a Today Show interview, with respect to the time period of the show: "Well, though we never said it, and though it was shot in the '60s, it had a feeling of the '30s. It was when we were doing it, of a time gone by."
The series never placed lower than seventh in the Nielsen ratings and ended its final season at number one. It has been ranked by TV Guide as the 9th-best show in American television history. Though neither Griffith nor the show won awards during its eight-season run, series co-stars Knotts and Bavier accumulated a combined total of six Emmy Awards. The show, a semi-spin-off from an episode of The Danny Thomas Show titled "Danny Meets Andy Griffith", spawned its own spin-off series, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. (1964), a sequel series, Mayberry R.F.D. (1968), and a reunion telemovie, Return to Mayberry (1986). The show's enduring popularity has generated a good deal of show-related merchandise. Reruns currently air on TV Land, and the complete series is available on DVD. All eight seasons are also now available by streaming video services such as Netflix.
Mayberry R.F.D. is an American television series produced as a spin-off and direct continuation of The Andy Griffith Show. When star Andy Griffith decided to leave his series, most of the supporting characters returned for the new program, which ran for three seasons (78 episodes) on the CBS Television Network from 1968–1971. During the final season of The Andy Griffith Show, widower farmer Sam Jones (Ken Berry) and his young son Mike (Buddy Foster) are introduced and gradually become the show's focus. Sheriff Andy Taylor takes a backseat in the storylines, establishing the sequel series. The show's first episode, "Andy and Helen's Wedding", had the highest ratings in recorded television history (up to premiere date in 1968). Sheriff Taylor and newlywed wife Helen make guest appearances on RFD until late 1969, and then relocate with Opie. Mayberry R.F.D. was popular throughout its entire run, but was canceled after its third season in CBS's infamous "rural purge" of 1971. R.F.D. stands for "Rural Free Delivery", a quaint postal depiction of the rural Mayberry community.
Father and son stories involving Sam and Mike Jones are reminiscent of the parent series. Both characters are introduced in the last season of The Andy Griffith Show (TAGS), beginning with Sam's election as head of the town council. Most of townfolk from TAGS reprise their roles in the sequel. Loyal Mayberry citizens Goober Pyle (George Lindsey), Clara Edwards (Hope Summers), Emmett Clark (Paul Hartman), and Howard Sprague (Jack Dodson) are seen regularly.
Jesse Donald "Don" Knotts (July 21, 1924 – February 24, 2006) was an American comedic actor best known for his portrayal of Barney Fife on the 1960s television sitcom The Andy Griffith Show, a role which earned him five Emmy Awards. He also played landlord Ralph Furley on the 1970s and 1980s television sitcom Three's Company.
In 1996, TV Guide ranked him # 27 on its 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time list.