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Andy Griffith’s Daughter Confesses That He Couldn’t Handle the Fame

Fame doesn’t come easy for everyone. Honestly, I’m not certain I would even want to be famous. While the money that goes along with being a celebrity is something that most people would probably appreciate – especially given the current state of the economy – the lack of privacy and the necessity to keep up with your public image constantly can be pretty jarring.

Of course, there will always be those that take to stardom like a fish to water. Take folks like Kanye West or Kim Kardashian, for example. These people seem to be obsessed with being the center of attention. Call it narcissism or simply self-love, either way you look at it, there’s no denying that celebs like these adore endlessly being in the spotlight.

For those that struggle with fame, however, it can be quite difficult for them to adapt to the litany of trials and tribulations that go along with being thrust into the limelight. One such individual who reportedly had a very hard time dealing with fame is the legendary actor Andy Griffith, best known for his roles in television shows like The Andy Griffith Show and Matlock.

While from the outside looking in, Andy seemed to handle fame with grace and confidence, underneath his wholesome, humble persona, Griffith was deeply conflicted.

More than six decades ago, Griffith came to the attention of the American public when his eponymous sitcom hit the airwaves. The iconic family-friendly series was set in the fictional southern town of Mayberry, North California. Even all these years later, the show remains one of the most beloved sitcoms of all time.

In it, Griffith played the town’s universally respected and adored Sheriff Andy Taylor. As the series lead, he worked alongside an ensemble cast of characters that the audience fell in love with. Among those included Ron Howard, who played Andy’s son, Opie, Don Knotts as the bumbling yet uproariously funny Deputy Sheriff Barney Fife, Frances Bavier, as the level-headed and sweet as apple pie Aunt Bee, and Jim Nabors as the simple-minded gas station attendant, Gomer Pyle.

The show’s positive message and lighthearted take on the American dream was seen by many as a much-needed reprieve from the massive societal changes that were taking place in the world at the time. While other shows were pushing the boundaries of what was acceptable on network television, The Andy Griffith Show instead revisited a more conventional era in American history when the world seemed simpler and less chaotic.

Andy Griffith was in many ways much like the character he played on TV. While he was a life-long Democrat, he held to more traditionalistic views and never was one to toot his own horn. Humility was one of his biggest virtues, as such fame was something that didn’t come naturally to him.

Keep watching to hear what Andy’s daughter had to say about Griffith’s struggle to contend with all of the attention that fame brought him. It’s actually rather remarkable that Andy was able to remain as calm, collected, and put-together as he was throughout his Hollywood journey.

If you fancy yourself a fan of The Andy Griffith Show and it’s titular star, this is one video that you won’t want to miss. So without further waffling, let’s go ahead and get started.

Andy Learned To Be An Entertainer To Thwart Off Bullies

Even though he became a world-famous television star, Andy Griffith still enjoyed spending his summers in North Carolina walking around shoeless. According to his daughter Dixie Griffith, Andy would frequently go into stores barefoot. Sometimes, he would even go in without wearing a shirt. Apparently the old ‘no shirt, no shoes, no service’ thing didn’t apply to a star of his caliber.

This was just one of many ways that Griffith shamelessly bucked the expectations that one might have of a typical Hollywood-type star. He grew up in the sleepy little blue-collar town of Mount Airy, North Carolina. In his younger years, he would have never dreamed that one day he would own a beautiful home on a 70-acre estate on Roanoke Island in the Outer Banks region. Still, once he had achieved fame and amassed a sizable fortune, he would return to his native state every summer to reconnect with his roots.

Dixie says that North Carolina was where her father felt the freest. Frequently, Andy would take his family on boat trips, go water-skiing and play volleyball. He loved the simpler things in life and wasn’t one to flaunt his status or indulge in many luxuries. That just wasn’t his vibe.

According to Dixie, Andy was just a guy that loved to entertain and bring a smile to the faces of the people around him. Wherever he went, he was the life of the party – not because he was some big-time, fancy-schmancy Hollywood hotshot, but because he was a down-to-earth regular joe that pretty much anyone could relate to.

Entertaining was initially just one of Andy’s survival skills. As a child, he learned that he had a knack for it, and thus it just kind of became his thing. His father worked as a foreman at a local furniture factory, so his parents could afford to dress him well.

That ended up working against him, however, because the majority of the other kids from Mount Airy were poorer and couldn’t afford to dress as dapper as he did. Because of this, Andy was bullied a lot as a child.

According to Daniel de Vise, author of the book Andy & Don: The Making of a Friendship and a Classic American TV Show, Griffith hit a significant turning point when he discovered that he was able to deflect his bullies’ ire by making them laugh.

If you’ve been enjoying this video so far, take a moment to show us a little support by giving it a like and subscribing to the Facts Verse channel. Stay tuned to learn about one of the darkest moments of his life that caused him to resent being famous.

Andy Was A Talented Musician And Comic

In high school, Andy took drama classes in addition to signing up for music lessons. Griffith’s love for both of these things would be a significant part of his story throughout his life and professional career. Dixie recalls that her father was always passionate about music. He had several musical instruments, including guitars, banjos, and a piano.

While most know him for his work on the screen and stage, Andy was a very talented multi-instrumentalist who put out several critically acclaimed albums over the course of his life, including the Grammy-winning 1996 folk album I Love To Tell The Story – 25 Timeless Hymns.

Faith was also an integral theme in Andy’s life story. While he was in the process of earning a degree in music at the University of North Carolina, Griffith entertained the idea, albeit briefly, of becoming a preacher.

Whenever life would throw Andy challenges, he would always fall back on his faith and unwavering belief in God to help him navigate through these obstacles. This was no more evident than the time that he was quoted as saying that it was his firm belief that ‘in every situation, no matter how difficult, God extends grace greater than the hardship’ and that he provides ‘strength and peace of mind that can lead us to a place higher than where we were before’.

While in college, Andy started acting with the Carolina Playmakers while simultaneously writing his own material. This led to a door being opened up to him in the realm of show business. In 1953, Griffith’s comic monologue entitled What It Was, Was Football became a national hit. He followed that up with an appearance in the teleplay No Time For Sergeants in 1955.

From there, Andy went on to appear in dozens of films, radio shows, and television programs appearing in a variety of roles that showed off his versatility. In 1960, The Andy Griffith Show premiered, and basically overnight, he became a household name.

With fame, Andy Griffith’s personal problems began to mount. In 1949, And married fellow actress Barbara Edwards and not long after that the couple adopted two children – a son named Andy Samuel Griffith Jr and the aforementioned daughter Dixie.

The Death Of Andy Griffith’s Son Deeply Affected Him

Dixie recalls that her father always found time to play with her and Sam. In fact, she viewed him as an “absolutely phenomenal” father. Sadly, however, Griffith and Edwards’s marriage was doomed for failure.

Their relationship eventually soured, and while they remained married for quite some time, they fought constantly. Both parties drank more than they probably should have, and this only exacerbated their problems. Inevitably, this led to their marriage ending in 1972 when Sam and Dixie were still teenagers.

Sam dealt with the divorce rather poorly. For many years, he drank heavily, battled with substance abuse, and frequently found himself in trouble with the law. This culminated in him passing away from alcoholism at the age of 38 in 1996.

While Dixie knows that her brother had many troubles, she doesn’t blame her father in the least bit for any of them. Regardless, Sam’s death deeply affected Andy. He wondered if there was anything that he could have done differently that might have saved him from his fate.

And since there was much publicity surrounding Sam’s death, Dixie says that her father began to hate any and all speculation about his personal life. He ended up not attending his son’s funeral. According to Dixie he thought that there would be too many people in attendance – and more specifically, too many pesky journalists and cameras.

In the years that would follow, Griffith wouldn’t discuss his son’s passing publicly. Dixie claims that it remained a source of great sorrow in his heart. That being said, Griffith’s strong faith, his third wife Cindi Knight, and the remainder of his family’s support helped him weather this difficult chapter.

He Didn’t Enjoy Watching The Andy Griffith Show’s First Season

TV shows often take some time to work out all of their kinks. It’s not uncommon to hear people say things like ‘the first season isn’t that great, but it gets good from there’. The Andy Griffith Show was no exception to this, and one of the show’s biggest critics throughout it’s first season was none other than Andy himself.

Andy reportedly once told Aaron Ruben, one of the sitcom’s producers, that he couldn’t stand watching himself in early episodes. Apparently, he felt that his performance felt too forced.

Throughout the series first season, both Andy Griffith and Don Knotts played up their southern accents quite a bit. Since he had found early success assuming a “southern bumpkin” role with his What It Was, Was Football comedy routine, it makes sense that he would lean into this aesthetic.

At first, this felt only natural. You’d hear Griffith laying on his accent strong saying things like “right cheer” instead of “right here”, but in time, he shifted away from this, thinking that it sounded too fake. As the show progressed, Griffith arrived at a place where he was much more comfortable with how his character expressed himself. Likewise, the relationship dynamic with his co-star Don Knotts also evolved. He quickly realized that there was a perceivable magic that occurred whenever he let Barney be the over-the-top one while he played the straight-man.

It’s always fascinating to learn that a star that we grew up watching on television or in films was strikingly different than the person that we saw on-screen. Andy Griffith dealt with much hardship throughout his life. Two of his marriages ended in divorce, his son died tragically of alcoholism, and he himself battled inner-demons and vices that we could never imagine his iconic sitcom character ever having to deal with.

He struggled to reconcile his fame with the simple, straightforward life that he always wanted. This was a man that just wanted to go fishing, camping, and skiing with his family. He never felt like he was in his element whenever he had to spend time around the glitz and glamour of Hollywood.

Even so, Andy Griffith leaves behind a legacy that won’t soon be forgotten.

Did you know that Andy Griffith never enjoyed fame and that he was deeply affected by the death of his son in 1996? Let us know in the comments.

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