Actor and comedian -- via the New York Times. He will be immortalized via television as Sheriff Andy Taylor in "The Andy Griffith Show," and remembered for his resurgence as a mystery solver in "Matlock." He made his name in 1953 doing an old comic bit called, "What It Was, Was Football."
Then he was became a huge star after playing Will Stockdale in the TV, Broadway and film versions of "No Time for Sergeants" in 1955.
Then Griffith turned around and played one of film's great villains -- Larry "Lonesome" Rhodes in Eliz Kazan's "A Face in the Crowd" in 1957.
From the day after my birth -- October 3, 1960, through April of 1968, "The Andy Griffith Show"'s homespun humor and ridiculous characters were an integral part of our lives.
For almost 20 years after that, he did a lot of different work, primarily outright villainous or comic roles in films and on TV. He was great in "Hearts of the West" and "Rustler's Rhapsody."
He tried to launch numerous new TV series -- I have a sneaking fondness in my heart for 1979's "Salvage 1," a silly adventure-comedy.
Then Matlock from 1986 to 1995.
All in all, a great career, full of a strong spectrum of roles that were informed not only by Griffith's folksiness and ease. He was able to touch on complex and disturbing aspects of himself to play roles opposite to his Andy Taylor persona. Not a lot of actors can get away with that. Thanks, Andy. Say hey to Goober for me.