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Legendary TV Actor Andy Griffith Dead At 86

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Legendary actor Andy Griffith, best known as the star of the 1960s TV hit "The Andy Griffith Show" and the 1980s TV courtroom drama "Matlock," died at the age of 86 Tuesday. NY1's Tina Redwine filed the following report.

In the tumultuous '60s, a simple, whistled tune became an iconic touchpoint for a whole country.

The theme was from "The Andy Griffith Show." Griffith's character, Sheriff Andy Taylor, epitomized good parenting. And in his fictional town of Mayberry, North Carolina, decency always won out.

"The basic theme of our show was love," Griffith once said in an interview. "All the characters loved each other and all the actors loved each other, too. And then it was so very well-written. We could do all kinds of different stories. Some of them were little dramas. Some of them were out-and-out comedies. "

Born June 1, 1926, Andrew Samuel Griffith grew up in Mount Airy, North Carolina. At first, acting was a hobby. But a comedy monologue he performed on the radio got him noticed. Before long, Griffith was appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show and landing appearances on the stage and big screen.

Then, in 1960, the Andy Griffith Show premiered on CBS. The storyline was about single father Andy Taylor working as a sheriff in a small-country Southern town called Mayberry.

"The love between these characters was so strong and so great," Griffith previously said in an interview. "(We were) having so much fun. We were like children."

Griffith left the show in 1968. Years later, in the '80s and '90s, Griffith found new fame as "Matlock," a murder-solving Southern attorney.

Griffith's talents off-screen earned him accolades. He earned two Tony nominations and was inducted into the Christian Music Hall of Fame.

In 2005, President Bush honored Griffith with the National Medal of Freedom.

He was married three times and had two children. He had been with third wife Cindi since 1983.

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