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DARE COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Iconic actor Andy Griffith, who made a living upholding his wholesome, southern image, died this morning in his home in Manteo. Now, people across the state are remembering the man and star.

Griffith was known worldwide for his depiction of a true gentleman in a town that anyone would be happy to call home. He was a North Carolina icon. From the fictional “Mayberry” and beyond, Griffith was a household name.

The North Carolina Division of Tourism says Griffith was monumental in helping to improve the state, specifically Hollywood East. In a statement it said: “His hit show ‘Matlock,’ filmed at Screen Gems Studios in Wilmington as well as many other locations along the North Carolina coast, gave an early boost to the state’s film industry.”

While shooting the eighth season of the crime drama in 1993, Griffith told WWAY he was growing to love the Port City.

“I’ve come to like it here in Wilmington more, and more, and more, and more,” he said. “So I think the eighth year (of the show) is the best year.”

State leaders say Griffith’s impact on the Tar Heel State was immense. US Sen. Kay Hagan was in our studio Tuesday morning when she learned of his death.

“He put North Carolina on the map,” she said. “Mayberry, NC. So many people have heard about and responded, and although it’s a fictional town, Andy Griffith is an iconic figure that I think represents the best in southern hospitality and a southern gentleman.”

Later in life Griffith used his celebrity status to help get Bev Perdue elected governor starring alongside her in a 2008 campaign ad, in which he said, “Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina with Bev Perdue as governor.”

“North Carolina has lost its favorite son,” Perdue said in a statement. “In an increasingly complicated world, we all yearn for the days of Mayberry. We all will miss Andy, and I will dearly miss my friend.”

Ron Howard, who played Griffith’s son Opie on “The Andy Griffith Show,” expressed his condolences on Twitter.

“Andy Griffith His pursuit of excellence and the joy he took in creating served generations & shaped my life I’m forever grateful RIP Andy,” he tweeted.

The Associated Press says Griffith will buried on Roanoke Island. Official details on a funeral have not been released.

Comment on this Story

  • Martha Goron

    A few years ago, my daughter and I went to see a midweek performance of “The Lost Colony”. During the performance, we noticed a man and woman sitting in an area by themselves. The man was mouthing every word of Sir Walter Raleigh’s lines, with the current actor playing the part. I told my daughter it had to be Andy Griffith! He would be the only person that would know every line by memory. During the intermission, a golf cart came and took the couple away. Yes, it was Andy Griffith. He graciously waved at us to acknowledge our clapping ovations we gave to him. His body of works as an actor, can never be duplicated and I am thankful that my young daughter was able to see him in person before this sad day. Thank you, Mr. Griffith for your contributions to our great state. From Manteo to Mayberry, you are appreciated!

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    No tears here!

  • Guest2020

    My husband and I saw him in an appliance store. My husband said a simple “hi” like he does everyone and Griffith gave him a dirty look and turned and walked away.

  • Gramps1935

    Came here to Wilmington, and acted like the most hateful snob I have ever seen. On Water St. I got to see him for the first time. He was yelling profanities, at extras, who had the nerve to simply approach him. Wife #3 was about half his age.

    Yet, on camera, he came across as a down home “Christian” Gospel singer. He was fake. He did nothing for Wilmington.

  • Grand Ole Party

    “Yet, on camera, he came across as a down home “Christian” Gospel singer. He was fake”
    He was an actor. Fake is what he is paid to do. He made a living entertaining people, and he did it well. No one said he was supposed to be your BFF. Here’s something that will really throw you for a loop…Did you know that George Burns was not actually God? It’s true. He just played him in the movies. Damn fake. I would have never known otherwise had I not seen Bruce Almighty. Come to find out, God is much taller and darker skinned.

  • Marilyn

    Some say celebrities get attention because they ask for it. I know some may be that way, but not all. I have seen celebrities and never gone up to them. My reasoning is that they are deserve their privacy, also, there are already too many people who butt into their lives and bother them. Who am I to break into their private space? Sure, I’d like to meet them, but to be one of the “vultures” who descend upon them isn’t me.

  • Marilyn

    Thank goodness Mayberry is still in re-runs. I hope they don’t stop. They hark back to the times when a whole small town cared about the children and weren’t afraid to speak with the parents about them. I grew up in a town like that and didn’t like it at all when I became a teen, however, now I see just how safe we were and how loved we were.

    Andy’s “Andy” was an all around good person. H showed the way a dad should love and guide his child.

  • Guest Reply

    My Mother met him years ago when she worked in administrations at a nursing home in Walkertown, NC where his Aunt was a patient (No…not Ant Bee).
    He spoke and kidded around with the ladies in the office and Mom said he was a pleasure to meet…and a dedicated family man as well. A down home person in spite of all his success.
    Mom is the same age as Andy…and I’m sure she will be heart broken when she hears this news.
    RIP Andy….

  • Guest4587644

    People can be stupid. Almost every famous person I’ve seen in public, I’m amazed at the people with zero restrain who walk up to them, regardless of what the celeb might be doing, and start talking to them as if they know them. He played a legendary character like Andy Taylor (Matlock too for that matter) and people forever think he is Sheriff Taylor, armed all sorts of homespun, folksy advice when he just wants to stand in line and renew his driver’s license like anyone else. It probably happened dozens of times per day for 40+ years since he left that show.

    We the TV viewing public can be bad about thinking actors are their characters. Tony Dow (Wally from Leave it to Beaver) said in an interview that Hugh Beaumont (Ward Cleaver) wasn’t really a kid person. He was a father but like men of his generation, it wasn’t his nature to spend his extra time interacting with children. Poor guy probably spent the rest of his life having strangers ask him to counsel their children or solve their biggest problems in 22 minutes. Imagine being Peter Billingsley, just trying to check in at the dermatologist’s office and the next person in line screams “You’ll shoot your eye out!!” and truly thinks they’re the first person to do that.

  • Dazed Deb

    I met him. He was not snobby. He stayed and talked with us and took pictures with us until his rep told him it was time to move along.

  • Grand Ole Party

    Cranky? Sounds a lot like you.

  • WilmingtonMAJ

    He was a great actor and his shows made millions happy. Sad though that he was known as a cranky and unapproachable, often refusing to sign autographs or greet fans. RIP

  • Brenda

    He will be missed..He has been a part of American TV my entire life…May he rest in peace…

  • David

    God bless you!

  • MrT

    Was Football!!!! Thanks Andy.

  • tweety12

    love the Andy Griffith Show and Matlock still watch reruns.

  • 1981duke

    So sad,a TV legend


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