TV Legend Andy Griffith Dead at 86
Details are still breaking, but several media sites are reporting that television groundbreaker Andy Griffith has passed away this morning at age 86.
A North Carolina native, Griffith is best known for the TV shows "The Andy Griffth Show," "Mayberry R.F.D." and "Matlock." A family friend, former UNC President Bill Friday, made the announcement this morning. It remains unclear at this hour exactly what happened.
He leaves behind one daughter, his current wife and two ex-wives. His son, Andy Griffith, Jr., died from alcohol-related illness in 1996. Both of his children were adopted.
Griffith's legacy has been based on his folksy charm, mostly from the extremely popular "The Andy Griffith Show," which ran for eight seasons starting in 1960. Griffith played legendary TV father Andy Taylor with young Ron Howard as his son, Opie.
An attempt was made at a spinoff of "The Andy Griffith Show," but "Mayberry, R.F.D." only lasted one season on the air. He spent the next several years mostly in made-for-TV movies before hitting TV paydirt again with "Matlock" in 1986. The show ran until 1995, after which Griffith mostly retired.