It’s the rare North Carolinian who doesn’t know who Andy Griffith is. One of our native sons, Andy was born in 1926 in Mount Airy, NC. Although he participated in many varied areas of the arts, we are concentrating on some of the lesser known facts of Andy’s life. For example, most know of Andy for his long-running role on the “Andy Griffith Show, but how many are aware that he was also highly involved in one of North Carolina’s outdoor dramas, “The Lost Colony“, in Manteo?
“Griffith was delighted when he was offered a role in The Lost Colony by Paul Green, a play about Roanoke Island still performed today. He performed as a cast member of the play for several years, playing a variety of roles, until he finally landed the role of Sir Walter Raleigh, the namesake of North Carolina’s capital.”
Some other lesser known facts about Andy Griffith?
“He attended the University of North Carolina (UNC) in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and graduated with a bachelor of music degree in 1949. He began college studying to be a Moravian preacher, but he changed his major to music and became a part of the school’s Carolina Playmakers. At UNC, he was president of the UNC chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, America’s oldest fraternity for men in music.” Andy had a particular affinity for “swing”, and not only could he sing, he could also play the trombone.
Did you know he also taught drama and music at the Goldsboro High School?
One award that some may not be aware of is the 1956 Theatre World Award, which is an award based on debut roles on Broadway.
In fact, Andy enjoyed quite a few impressive recognitions. Since our post is about his little known facts, we won’t do the whole litany of awards here..those can be found at above mentioned link. We do want to point out, though, his Grammy award in 1996 for “I love to Tell the Story: 25 Timeless Hymns”. This album won in the Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album division.
Andy also received the Medal of Freedom, presented by President George W. Bush, at the White House in 2005.
Of course, no post can be complete about Andy Griffith without a few photos from his show, so here’s a couple with both Don Knotts (his deputy, Barney Fife) and Ron Howard (Opie, his son on the show).
Andy Griffith passed away in Manteo in 2012, and was buried in the family cemetery located there. His acting talents, though, make him live on in every North Carolinian who has picked up a fishing pole, and gone whistling down the dirt track. Rest in peace, Andy Griffith.
Just for your enjoyment, here is Andy with “Mountain Wedding”!