POSTED: Tuesday, July 3, 2012 - 4:45pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, July 3, 2012 - 4:49pm
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — Andy Griffith, the star of one of TV's most beloved shows, has died.
For millions of viewers Griffith was the the American South personified.
For eight seasons Griffith played the laid back sheriff of the fictional North Carolina town of Mayberry.
At his side, the inept, but lovable deputy Barney Fife.
The show's combination of homespun humor and wholesome storytelling created a ratings hit.
"We were a small town. We were a feeling. We were of a time gone that we'd like to hold on to a little while," Griffith later said of the show.
Eventually though, Griffith moved onscreen to the big city.
The drama "Matlock" cast Griffith as a folksy Atlanta defense attorney, and was another long-running hit.
Griffith himself grew up in the small North Carolina town of Mt. Airy.
His first career success came in 1958 with a hit record.
"What it was was Football" led Griffith to acting.
"No Time for Sergeants" was a hit for Griffith on Broadway, TV and film.
He also received critical acclaim in drama---playing an overnight singing sensation in "A Face In The Crowd".
It was a career that brought Griffith the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005.
That same year, at the age of 79, Griffith was still working.
He played a pie-loving diner owner in the romantic comedy "Waitress".
Still, for most of us, Andy Griffith will always be remembered as the sheriff of Mayberry, and Opie's Pa.