The Andy Griffith Show was a television series that traded on good, old-fashioned values, and a large part of the appeal of the show was how loving the interactions between the characters were. Though there were oftentimes conflicts in the show’s setting of Mayberry, things never got too dark. Sadly, the same can’t be said for the atmosphere behind the scenes of the series. There was some tension between performers on the show, particularly between titular star Andy Griffith and Don Knotts. Join Facts Verse as Don Knotts’ true feelings about Andy Griffith are finally confirmed.
Were Don Knotts and Andy Griffith Really Friends?
On The Andy Griffith Show, Andy Griffith played neighbors and coworkers living in the small town of Mayberry. Many decades after the show ended it’s run, the two found themselves neighbors in real life. In 2004, Andy purchased a rather expensive new home. The home cost $2.4 million dollars, and it just so happened to put him in the vicinity of his old costar. Andy and Don had some spats during the time that they worked together on the series, put they were on decidedly good terms when Andy showed up in Don’s neighborhood. The two took advantage of being neighbors by going on double dates alongside their respective wives.
During the time that Andy Griffith and Don Knotts were working together on The Andy Griffith Show, the prior performer was often finding himself exceedingly jealous of the latter. Typically, it’s the supporting star that’s jealous of the titular performer. However, in the case of this beloved series, it was Don Knotts who received the most affection from audience members. This was true then and it’s still true now, years after both performers passed away. Decades later, while going on double dates alongside Andy and their respective wives, it was Don who was getting jealous.
The story goes that the woman Don Knotts was married to at the time of these double dates found Andy Griffith’s jokes a little bit funnier than her husbands. Either that, or she was smitten with the aging television star. The woman in question is Frances Yarborough, whom Don was married to from 2002 until his death in 2006. Don apparently got pretty peeved about his wife’s constant humoring of Andy’s tired jokes, to the point where he had to make a fuss about it. As we’ve already established, little spats between the two old friends were nothing new. The incident did nothing to break down Don’s third and final marriage, and he and Andy certainly considered each other close as he was passing away.
Andy Had Immense Respect for His Old Friend Don
If Don Knotts was obsessed with the way that his third wife was laughing at Andy Griffith’s jokes, Andy himself was oblivious. It seems that all Andy care about was the fact that he was getting the chance to spend his twilight years with his old friend and costar. Perhaps it was these positive feelings that allowed Andy to be funny enough to crack up Frances Yarborough! Don and Andy were both considered pretty big womanizers during their lifetimes, though many believe that there were few people that the performers had closer relationships to when all was said and done than each other.
The Andy Griffith Show was a series that appealed to audiences thanks to it’s Southern charm, and stars Andy Griffith and Don Knotts brought a good deal of authenticity in this regard. Both of the performers were Southerners that grew up during the Great Depression, and this taught them that value of hard work. The two had a close bond, and their passion for giving their work their all allowed them to put pettiness aside while working on their beloved show.
Some might imagine that Andy Griffith and Don Knotts didn’t meet until starring together on The Andy Griffith Show, but this isn’t the case. The two met for the first time several years prior, while starring together in the 1955 film No Time for Sergeants. Not long after that, the two appearing together on Broadway. It was during this time that they started to form a personal relationship. In addition to both being talented performers, one thing that Don and Andy bonded over was the fact that they both had a propensity for drinking a bit too heavily and cheating on their respective spouses. At the time that they first became friend, both performers were with their first wives, whom they cheated on quite a bit. By the time they were having jealous spats about jokes over dinner on double dates, that two had calmed down their infidelity.
Don and Andy Both Loved Cheating on Their Wives
Andy Griffith was married to his first wife throughout the entire duration of his time on The Andy Griffith Show, but that didn’t stop him from starting up an extramarital affair with the woman who portrayed his love interest on the series. That woman was none other than Aneta Corsaut, who played the character of Helen Crump. The two struck up a romantic relationship soon after Aneta was brought onto the series, which was in 1963. Andy had bee married to his first wife, Barbara, since 1949. They would remain married until 1972, despite the fact that Andy was always cheating.
Besides Don Knotts, another person who is often brought up when determining who Andy Griffith was closest to is Aneta Corsaut. Tellingly, three names that don’t get brought up much are those of the late television star’s three wives. Though there was arguably no woman that Andy was closer to during his lifetime than Aneta, she was far from being the only other person that he cheated on one of his three wives with. Another notable figure that Andy allegedly engaged in extramarital relations with was Joanna Moore. Andy’s sinful behavior was allegedly fuelled by alcohol abuse, which was something that he had a problem with just as much as cheating. Meanwhile, his first wife turned to alcohol abuse herself when he husband continued covering up affairs.
Being married three times over the course of their lives was just another one of the many things that Don Knotts and Andy Griffith had in common. Don’s first wife was named Kathryn Metz, and they were married from 1947 to 1964. Another thing that Don and Andy shared was the fact that they both had some dark secrets. One of Andy’s dark secrets was that he was prone to fits of rage. Given that he left behind an impressive legacy as someone who continues to bring smiles to audience’s face via his work, this may come as a shock to many of his fans. Andy’s rage apparently got so bad at times that he would trash cars and hotel rooms. During the filming of The Andy Griffith Show, there were said to be times where Andy’s coworkers were cowering in fear because of the performer’s rage bouts.
Don and Andy Bonded Over Bad Habits
Andy’s rage issues caused him to seek out a good psychiatrist, and he allegedly kept seeing this psychiatrist for more than a decade. This is yet another thing that him and Don Knotts had in common. The rage that Andy was experiencing during the time that The Andy Griffith Show was first airing got even worse when Don decided to exit the series after five seasons. There were numerous reasons why Don made the decision to leave, with the fact that he made so much less money than Andy being one of them. As we’ve already established, Don was the more beloved of the two performers amongst audience members. Andy was the straight man, and Don was the funny one. Don knew he could make more money working up on the big screen.
Though it’s certainly true that Don didn’t balk at the prospect of making more money via pictures than he was on The Andy Griffith Show, the actor went to his deathbed claiming that money wasn’t the only reason he quit the series after only five seasons of his eight-season run. According to the late Don Knotts himself, he and Andy had agreed before even starting on the series that it was only going to last five seasons. By the time filming of the fifth season starting wrapping up, Don started looking for elsewhere without considering that Andy had perhaps changed his mind about bringing the show to an end. By the time Don realized that Andy was going forward with more seasons of the series, the actor had already received a lucrative offer to start appearing in Hollywood pictures. Given that the working relationship between him and Andy was already mired by issues such as jealous and wage disparity, Don decided to go forward with his Hollywood work and abandon the series prematurely.
The Andy Griffith Show lasted for eight seasons in total, though Andy Griffith himself decided to jump ship just two seasons after Don Knotts. The final season focused on supporting characters, and eventually yielded a number of spinoff series. Don and Andy continued to be in-demand celebrities until their deaths, but most would agree nothing they did after matched the highs of their work on the beloved show. Don Knotts passed away in February of 2006, with his cause of death being related to lung cancer. At the time of his passing, he was 86 years old. Andy passed away himself around six years later, with his caused of death being a heart attack. Andy was 81, and he died in July of 2012.
Though Don Knotts and Andy Griffith were both jealous of one another at various points in their lifetimes, that didn’t stop them from being friends until the end. Now it’s time to hear from you: did you know that Andy Griffith was professionally jealous of supporting star Don Knotts during his time on The Andy Griffith Show, and that Don later grew jealous of Andy in his personal life? Comment down below!