Q: I’m curious about the late Andy Griffith. I heard there wasn’t a funeral after he died. Why not? And did he have any children, adopted or otherwise?
Cody Jones, Salem
A: Thanks for the question. As a transplant from the Midwest, I’ve always been curious about the fascination of people around here with Andy Griffith. Sure, his show was popular when I was growing up in Indiana, but my only memories of it were related to the merciless teasing from kids who thought that 8 year-old me was a dead ringer for Opie Taylor. It had long since stopped airing in Indianapolis, but when I moved and found work at WDBJ in 1985 I was amazed to find that it was, and remains, a very popular program in the Blue Ridge, which explains your fascination with its star.
Griffith’s life was less idyllic than that depicted on the show. He was married three times, though his personal life wasn’t exactly a tabloid train wreck compared to the lives of some of today’s stars. Though we think we know our favorite actors, I think it helps to remember that we know of them primarily because they are really good at inhabiting a role and pretending to be someone else.
He was born in Mount Airy, North Carolina in 1926. He got his first break in 1944 when he landed a small part in The Lost Colony, the outdoor drama that is still performed on Roanoke Island on the Outer Banks, and he returned for several summers until he worked his way up to playing Sir Walter Raleigh.