Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Andy Griffith Passes Away at 86

Andrew Samuel "Andy" Griffith was an American actor, television producer, Grammy Award-winning Southern-gospel singer, and writer. But more than that, he was an American icon. Yesterday, he passed away at the age of 86. A Tony Award nominee for two roles, he 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. It's hard not to whistle anything and not think of the opening of the show named after him.

Known primarily for his acting work, Griffith was very active in country and gospel music throughout his career. Griffith sang as part of some of his acting roles, most notably in A Face In The Crowd and in many episodes of both of his television series. In addition to his recordings of comic monologues in the 1950s, he made an album of upbeat country and gospel tunes during the run of The Andy Griffith Show, which included a version of the show's theme sung by Griffith under the title "The Fishin' Hole." In recent years, he recorded successful albums of classic Christian hymns for Sparrow Records. His most successful was the 1996 release I Love to Tell the Story: 25 Timeless Hymns, which was certified platinum by the RIAA. Griffith also appeared in country singer Brad Paisley's music video "Waitin' on a Woman" in 2008. 

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