Andy Griffith and Don Knotts were actually lifelong best friends. Their friendship was the most important thing to the both of them. Their long-standing friendship started in New York City when the two acted together in a Broadway play called “No Time for Sergeant” in 1955.
Five years later, the duo was reunited in The Andy Griffith Show , and from then on they were inseparable. Andy was there when Knotts passed away in 2006 at the age of 81 from lung cancer. Sadly, Griffith himself passed away six years later at the age of 86.
A Charitable Fellow
George Lindsey played Gomer Pyle’s bumbling cousin. George was a very generous man, he raised over $1,000,000 for the Alabama Special Olympics through 17 years of the George Lindsey Celebrity Weekend and Golf Tournament in Montgomery, Alabama and another $50,000 for the Alabama Association of Retarded Citizens, and participated as Head Coach for the Winter Games in the Minneapolis, Minnesota Special Olympics National Competition.
He established and perpetuated the George Lindsey Academic Scholarships at University of North Alabama. Lindsey was the 1995 recipient of the Governor's Achievement Award — Alabama Music Hall of Fame. The State of Alabama named the "George Lindsey Highway" in Jasper, Alabama after the actor. In 1998, he established the George Lindsey/UNA Film Festival that takes place at the University of North Alabama annually in the spring. He was the 1997 recipient of the Minnie Pearl Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2007 recipient of the first ICON Award presented by the Nashville Association of Talent Directors. Sadly, he passed away in 2012, at the age of 83.
Barney Fife Moves In
Although Don Knotts was best known as Barney Fife on The Andy Griffith Show, Knotts returned to series television in his second most identifiable role, the wacky-but-lovable landlord Ralph Furley on ‘Three’s Company’, alongside John Ritter. The series, which was already an established hit, added Knotts to the cast when the original landlords, Helen Roper and her husband Stanley Roper (a married couple played by Audra Lindley and Norman Fell , respectively) left the series to star in their own short-lived spin-off series (The Ropers).
Don also appeared in many television and film cameos. In 1979, TV Guide ranked him #27 on its 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time list.
Caught in the Act
Remember the fact that the cast and crew of The Andy Griffith Show loved pranking each other? Well, one of the crew members decided to pull a big prank on Andy Griffith at his hotel. The crew member dressed as a waiter in order to get into Andy’s hotel room to surprise him.
The crew member switched Andy’s dinner with a prop from the show, and thought that the actor wouldn’t even see a difference in the food and try to eat the prop. Shockingly, when the crew member walked into the room, he caught Griffith and Aneta in a compromising situation. Talk about backfire!
Little Ronny Howard went on to star in the high profile show ‘Happy Days’ Howard continued making films during this time, appearing in the western film The Shootist (1976), and the comedy film Grand Theft Auto (1977), which he also directed.
In 1980, Howard left Happy Days to focus solely on directing. His films include the science-fiction/fantasy film Cocoon (1985), the historical docudrama Apollo 13 (1995) (earning him the Directors Guild of America award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures), the biographical drama A Beautiful Mind (2001) (earning him the Academy Award for Best Director and Academy Award for Best Picture ), the thriller The Da Vinci Code (2006), the historical drama Frost/Nixon (2008) (nominated for Best Director and Best Picture Academy Awards) and Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018). Howard has received many awards and honors. He even had an asteroid named after him, Asteroid 12561 Howard !