Mayberry will never be the same. Sheriff Andy Taylor is dead.
Andy Griffith, the actor who played the role of the small-town sheriff in the mythical, lovable town of Mayberry, died Tuesday at 86. He died in his longtime home in the outer banks of North Carolina.
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As USA TODAY reported, Griffith, in "The Andy Griffith Show," embodied one of America's favorite archetypes: the seeming country bumpkin who's actually smarter than anyone around. The difference with Sheriff Taylor was that there was really nothing bumpkinish about him. What marked him as stupid, to those visiting Mayberry from the outside, wasn't the way he behaved or thought, but the way he spoke, that slow, soft drawl peppered with country aphorisms.
The show ran from 1960-68, into America's turbulent years. Also on the show were Frances Bavier as Aunt Bea, Don Knotts as Deputy Barney Fife, and Jim Nabors as gas station attendant Gomer Pyle. Griffith's young son was played by Ron Howard, now an Oscar-winning movie producer.
"Andy Griffith. His pursuit of excellence and the joy he took in creating served generations & shaped my life I'm forever grateful. RIP Andy," wrote Howard on his Twitter page.
After the Griffith show ended, Griffith went back to type for his second big hit, the murder mystery Matlock, which had a healthy run on NBC before concluding on ABC.