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Why These Cast Members QUIT the Andy Griffith Show

The Andy Griffith Show without question one of the most watched and popular comedy series on TV during it’s 8 year run. The show that centered around the sheriff of a small; sleepy town in North Carolina was a hit from 1960 until it’s final episode in 1968. In this video, you’ll learn why the cast members quit the show. And what really led to the somewhat abrupt end of this beloved series.

Don Knotts

Don Knotts already had a few acting gigs under his belt by the time he offered the role of deputy sheriff Barney Fife. However, the Andy Griffith Show arguably his true big break, and is the role he is most well known for. Don left the show after 5 seasons, in 1965. His departure explained away in the show as a promotion to another police department. After making his exit, he went on to make a few guest appearances in the final 3 seasons. He revealed in an interview that he decided to leave after his 5-year contract was up; because Andy Griffith told him he was only going to do the show for 5 seasons. Since there would not be a show without Andy Griffith.

Don figured he ought to start looking for other acting opportunities. However, Andy eventually changed his mind, caving to network pressure, and continued doing the show for another three seasons. By this time, Don already had multiple offers for movies and TV shows. And had put so much time and thought into his next moves. He had already made commitments, so he decided not to renew his contract for the show. However, Don mentioned that he hated leaving the show. And it was an incredibly tough decision for him because he loved working on it.

Don ended up winning 5 Emmys throughout the course of his time on the series. After the Andy Griffith Show, Don went on to star in a few comedy movies. And then joined the cast of the wildly popular sitcom Three’s Company, as the goofy and lovable landlord Mr. Furley from 1979-1984. Don Knotts so famous from the Andy Griffith Show; that his cast members on Three’s Company reportedly intimidated to work with him.

After Don Knotts left the show, they decided to replace him with Jack Burns. Who played the new deputy Warren Ferguson. However, Jack had big shoes to fill, and he unfortunately fell short. People loved Don Knotts character so much, and it shot him to fame. Many argue the show was never as good or the same after he left. So when Andy Griffith decided to cast Jack Burns after enjoying one of his comedy sets. It should come as no surprise that fans were not very receptive to the new deputy in town.

Jack’s stint on the show only lasted 11 episodes, and even Andy Griffith agreed that his casting was a mistake. Don Knotts even brought back for an episode to show support to the new arrival, but that still didn’t help. However, it is very possible that no actor or comic would have ever been able to replace the beloved character Barney Fife. Jack has admitted to feeling bitter after booted from the show, but he eventually got past it. Jack Burns went on to find his sweet spot with voiceover roles and behind-the-scenes work as a writer and producer.

Ron Howard

Ron Howard played Opie Taylor, the son of Sheriff Andy Taylor. He’s on the show for the entirety of it’s run, until 14 years old. Ron Howard could have gone on to act in the Andy Griffith spin-off series, Mayberry R.F.D, but decided not to. He passed on the opportunity to reprise his role in the spin-off because Andy Griffith would not be in the show. And he did not want to do it without him.

Ron describes being incredibly emotional at the wrap party for the 8th and final season. And cried uncontrollably after realizing a huge chapter of his life was ending. He spent his formative childhood years on the show, and it was difficult for him to bid the series farewell. After the Andy Griffith Show, Ron went on to do a few more acting gigs before landing the role of Richie Cunningham on Happy Days; one of the most successful sitcoms of the 1970s. After Happy Days, Ron left acting behind to mainly focus on directing films.

He went on to win an Oscar for directing the movie A Beautiful Mind. He’s directed several popular films and is co-chairman of a production company. He continues directing movies to this day, his most recent film being Hillbilly Elegy on Netflix. The next cast member we’ll talk about almost quit her role, but ultimately convinced not to leave. If you’re enjoying this video so far, make sure to hit the like button and subscribe to FactsVerse if you haven’t already.

Frances Bavier

Frances Bavier played the much-loved character, Aunt Bee. Although she had been acting for a few years before the show, this role was her big break and made her famou. Just like some of her other co-stars. Frances planning on leaving the show after it’s final season; but she was coaxed into staying on for the spin-off series. Since Andy Griffith wasn’t going to be acting in the spin-off, producers convinced Frances to reprise her role and give viewers a reason to tune in. When producers came to Frances and told her that Aunt Bee was one of the most important and beloved characters of the show.

She felt so flattered that it convinced her to continue her role in the spin off. According to many people that worked with Frances; she was nothing like the warm motherly figure she portrayed on the Andy Griffith show. Apparently, she had a raging temper and would remain aloof from her co-stars.

She’d described as volatile and cold but also misunderstood. Ron Howard, who played Opie on the show; says she was a professional and hard worker but also kept to herself and had little tolerance for shenanigans. In fact, Frances herself said that her loving character was much nicer than her. It was rumoured that Frances was rude to Andy Griffith, and that they did not get along on set, despite their character’s sweet and inspiring relationship. In an interview, Andy Griffith revealed that Frances called her a few months before her death to apologize about her behavior on set and make peace with him. After the Andy Griffith Show and it’s spin-off Mayberry R.F.D, Frances only appeared in one movie before quitting acting altogether.

Andy Griffith

Andy Griffith made the decision to leave his own show after the series finale, and did not reprise his role as Sheriff Andy Taylor in the spin-off either. This was surprising since the show was a ratings hit throughout the seasons, and re-runs even started airing as early as 1964. By the time the classic comedy was in its 8th and final season, it was the number 1 show on television and pulled in 35 million viewers per episode.

One of the reasons Andy decided to pull the plug on his character was due to how much the show changed once Don Knotts left. Although the show was still extremely popular with audiences and kept consistently high ratings even after Don left, Andy felt that the show’s dynamic was just not the same. He also hinted that he wasn’t too fond of the switch from black and white to color in television. He felt the show eventually started to lose some of its uniqueness, and he stopped putting as much effort and care into his character as he used to.

Andy’s manager has said that Andy eventually grew very physically and psychologically drained, and did not have much left to give to his role. He also wanted to do something different, and take on new roles. Although Andy did not star in his show’s spin-off, he stayed on as an executive producer. He even made an appearance in an episode of the show, which showed him married and leaving Mayberry with his wife, new baby, and Opie. Mayberry R.F.D. continued the theme of small-town living and traditional values and remained high in the ratings despite Andy’s departure. The show lasted for 3 seasons and still featured the beloved characters Aunt Bee, Goober, Howard, and Emmett from the Andy Griffith Show.

Andy Griffith was already well known in the comedy and acting world before he starred in the Andy Griffith Show, but it was his role in the series that skyrocketed his fame and established him as a star. After leaving the show, he started his own production company and went on to act in many films and TV shows. He was also a singer and released country and gospel music albums. He won a grammy for one of his albums in 1997. The Andy Griffith Show cemented his legacy, and there’s even an Andy Griffith Museum in his hometown of Mount Airy, North Carolina. The 2,500 square foot museum keeps the world’s most extensive collection of Andy Griffith memorabilia and celebrates his career and life.

That concludes our video about the Andy Griffith Show’s cast members. Out of the two most iconic characters on the show, Andy Taylor and Barney Fife, which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments. If you enjoyed this video, make sure to give it a like and subscribe to our channel if you’d like to see more videos like this.

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