Actor Andy Griffith was best known as a sheriff who kept peace in a fictional North Carolina town and served justice in Georgia.
Griffith died July 3, 2012 at age 85. Here are some of his best known works:
Related: Beloved actor Andy Griffith dies at home in North Carolina
Director: Elia Kazan
Starring: Andy Griffith, Patricia Neal, and Walter Matthau
Based on the short story Your Arkansas Traveler by Budd Schulberg
Synopsis: The story was about a drifter named Larry "Lonesome" Rhodes (Griffith) who is discovered by a producer (Neal) of a small radio program in Arkansas. Rhodes rises to fame and becomes an influence in national television.
Significance: Although the film received mixed reviews, it launched Griffith into stardom.
Created by: Arthur Stander
Series run: October 3, 1960 - April 1, 1968
Starring: Andy Griffith, Ronny Howard, Don Knotts, Elinor Donahue, Frances Bavier
Synopsis: The story is centered on a widowed sheriff (Griffith) of the fictional town Mayberry, North Carolina. Although his deputy Barney Fife (Knotts) has good intentions, he is frequently making the sheriff's life more complicated. The sheriff's spinster aunt and housekeeper, Aunt Bee (Bavier), and young son Opie (Howard, who grew up to become the Oscar-winning director of "A Beautiful Mind."), as well as locals, pals, and girlfriends are all additional factors that further complicate the sheriff's life.
Significance: The series was a major hit and never was ranked lower than seventh, ending its final season ranked as number one. It has been ranked by the TV Guide as the 9th best show in television history, and all eight seasons are available to watch on Netflix.
Andy Griffith is known primarily for his role in this sitcom.
Created by: Aaron Ruben
Series run: October 18, 1970 - September 10, 1971
Starring: Andy Griffith, Jerry Van Dyke, Claudette Nevins, Parker Fennelly
Synopsis: Griffith left the Andy Griffith Show to pursue other avenues of television, and to prevent him from being known as only a Southern sheriff. Griffith played Headmaster Andy Thompson of a prestigious Catholic private school, with his wife Margaret (Nevins) as an English teacher and his best friend Jerry Brownell (Van Dyke) the atletic coach. Mr. Purdy (Fennelly) was the school's groundskeeper.
Significance: The series was not very popular and was frequently beat out by other shows like The Partridge Family and The Name of the Game in ratings. It was replaced by The New Andy Griffith Show on January 1, 1971, and returned with reruns that summer with the last one airing on September 10, 1971.
Created by: Aaron Ruben
Series run: January 8, 1971 - May 21, 1971
Starring: Andy Griffith, Lee Meriwether, Ann Morgan Guilbery, Lori Rutherford, Marty McCall
Synopsis: Set in Greenwood, North Carolina, Griffith portrays Andy Sawyer, a returning hometown boy who finds himself as the town's new Mayor Pro-term. Sawyer was the model family man who spent a lot of time with his family and was very understanding. Sawyer's wife was played by Meriwether, with Rutherford and McCall as their children, Lori and T.J. Instead of having a supporting, motherly character like Aunt Bee in the Andy Griffith Show, Guilbery played a meddling, complaining, superstitious sister-in-law.
Significance: After an unsuccessful show, The Headmaster, it was replaced with The New Andy Griffith Show which had a very similar tone and character to the show he had left to pursue other types of characters. Although the New Andy Griffith Show was slightly more popular than The Headmaster, it was exhausted by March 12, 1971 and CBS aired repeats until the 21st before showing reruns of The Headmaster.
Created by: Dean Hargrove
Series run: September 23, 1986 - May 7, 1995
Starring: Andy Griffith, Linda Purl, Kene Holliday, Nancy Stafford, Julie Sommars, Kari Lizer, Clarence Gilyard, Jr., Brynn Thayer, Daniel Roebuck, Carol Huston
Synopsis: Set in Atlanta, Georgia, Griffith portrayed Ben Matlock, a popular country lawyer known for always winning cases, and who usually finds the perpetrator on the stand testifying. Matlock is known to visit crime scenes to notice clues that were overlooked and come up with alternative theories to the crime.
Significance: When Griffith left The Andy Griffith Show, and his next endevors - The Headmaster, The New Andy Griffith Show - were unsuccessful, he started his own production company, Andy Griffith Enterprises in 1972, and starred in more unsuccessful shows like Adams of Eagle Lake, Salvage 1, and The Yeagers.
After spending some time in rehabilitation for leg paralysis caused by Guillain-Barré syndrome, Griffith returned to television in Matlock. The show was a powerhouse after its first season and was nominated for four Emmy Awards. Although Griffith was never nominated, Matlock was one of the defining roles of his career.
However, Griffith won a People's Choice Award in 1987 for his role on Matlock.
In addition to acting, Griffith sang as part of his acting roles, as seen in A Face In The Crowd and in many episodes of The Andy Griffith Show and Matlock. Griffith sang the Andy Griffith Show theme song "The Fishin' Hole". He joined the company Sparrow Records and recorded a series of classic Chrisitan hymns. The most successful release as in 1996, I Love to Tell the Story: 25 Timeless Hymns that went platinum in sales and earned Griffith an Emmy award.
In 1999 Griffith was inducted into the Country Gospel Music Hall of Fame with fellow artists Lulu Roman, Barbara Mandrell, David L. Cook, Gary S. Paxton, Jimmy Snow, Loretta Lynn, and Jody Miller.
Griffith was a member of the 8th induction into the Academy of Television Arts Hall of Fame in 1992, along with Bill Cosby, Ted Koppel, Sheldon Leonard, Dinah Shore and Ted Turner in Orlando, Florida.
In 2005, President George W. Bush honored Griffith with the Presidental Medal of Freedom, one of the country’s highest civilian honors, for "demonstrating the finest qualities of our country and for a lifetime of memorable performances that have brought joy to millions of Americans of all ages."