American Legends: The Life of Andy Griffith
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“What I like is to play a character like me. I don't care for it too much when I have to get away from myself.” – Andy Griffith

“I wanted to prove that I could play something else, but there were 249 episodes out there of 'Mayberry,' and it was aired every day. It was hard to escape.” – Andy Griffith

A lot of ink has been spilled covering the lives of history’s most influential figures, but how much of the forest is lost for the trees? In Charles River Editors’ American Legends series, readers can get caught up to speed on the lives of America’s most important men and women in the time it takes to finish a commute, while learning interesting facts long forgotten or never known.

In 1957, little known comedian and actor Andy Griffith won acclaim for his portrayal as a country drifter who uses his powers of persuasion to become a television host in A Face in the Crowd, so it was only fitting that the role helped propel him to become the face of one of America’s most beloved sitcoms. The Andy Griffith Show starred Griffith and a motley crew of eccentric characters, most notably his sidekick Barney Fife (played by Don Knotts), and it managed to be one of the most popular shows in history during its run from 1960-1968, despite having a nostalgic feel that Griffith once described: "Well, though we never said it, and though it was shot in the 1960s, it had a feeling of the 1930s. It was when we were doing it, of a time gone by." The show obviously catapulted its namesake to fame, but it also made stars out of Don Knotts and a young Ron Howard, who went on to become one of Hollywood’s best directors. It also spawned several spin-off shows, a perfect ending for a show that was itself partly a spin-off out of an episode of The Danny Thomas Show

Griffith proceeded to appear on television in various roles, both in shows and movies, but his most memorable role was as the eponymous lawyer in Matlock, which was on air for nearly a decade. The series was much like Perry Mason, and with its dramatic courtroom scenes, it helped popularize subsequent shows that banked on courtroom drama.

American Legends: The Life of Andy Griffith chronicles the life and career of one of America’s favorite television stars. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about Andy Griffith like never before, in no time at all.

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