Actor Andy Griffith, best known for playing a Southern sheriff on his self-titled ’60s sitcom, died early Tuesday in Dare County, North Carolina at the age of 86.
A native of Mount Airy, North Carolina, Griffith’s most memorable film role came in 1957’s A Face in the Crowd, an examination of fame and power. Griffith also produced and starred in the 1980s legal drama Matlock.
But few can forget “America’s Favorite Sheriff” from his days on TV’s The Andy Griffith Show, which ran from 1960 to 1968. The story, set in fictional Mayberry, North Carolina, centered on Griffith, a widower, his bumbling deputy Barney Fife (Don Knotts), spinster Aunt Bee (Frances Bavier) and son Opie (played by a young Ron Howard).
Howard was among the legions of celebs who took to his Twitter to remember Griffith today, writing:
“His pursuit of excellence and the joy he took in creating served generations and shaped my life I’m forever grateful RIP Andy.”
In 2009, the straitlaced TV icon appeared in his first sex scene at the age of 83! Griffith could be seen getting it on under the sheets with actress Liz Sheridan in the senior sex comedy Play The Game.
In the film, Andy played Grandpa Joe, a senior citizen, who turns into a bed-hopping Casanova to hordes of willing old ladies in his assisted living facility — under the tutlege of his lothario grandson. He even put the moves on Doris Roberts — best known for playing Ray Romano’s mom on the award-winning comedy Everybody Loves Raymond.
Andy and Liz ended up in the sack after the actress’ character, Edna, spills a Viagra into Andy’s drink and covers her wrinkles with a red teddy to seduce him.
“He was very nervous,” Liz said of her sex scene with the former television lawyer. “We had all kinds of technicians and crew in the room, and his wife was on set watching through the camera.”
In 2005, Griffith received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush.