You know you’re getting old when your favorite TV characters – I mean actors – from your youth start passing away.
In February, baby boomers were shocked by the death of “the cute Monkee,” Davy Jones. Today we learned that Mayberry’s Sheriff Andy Taylor – Andy Griffith – has died. (I think a little confusion comes from the fact that their TV characters had the same first names as the actors.)
Jones’ death at 66 was more of a surprise than Griffith’s; he was 86, after all. But if my reaction this morning upon hearing of Griffith’s passing – a few spontaneous tears – is any indication, this one will be little tougher to process.
To many of us who grew up in the 1950s and ’60s watching “The Andy Griffith Show” (1960-68) on one of only three channels, Sheriff Andy was the warm, kind neighbor we wished we had in real life. We watched him wisely deal with his mischievous son Opie; feisty Aunt Bee; and the barely competent deputy whose name, Barney Fife, became synonymous with hick-town police everywhere. We all wished we could go fishing with Andy, whistling all the way to the crick.
Later, of course, Griffith would play a country lawyer in “Matlock,” but for those of us who were kids when “The Andy Griffith Show” aired, we’d always think of him as Sheriff Andy.
The last role I saw him in was as the crusty, profane diner owner in “Waitress.” I thought he was great, although Aunt Bee would have washed his mouth out with soap.
Thanks for the memories, Andy.