TMZ reports that TV icon Andy Griffith has died this morning at age 86. A close friend, former UNC President Bill Friday, broke the news to North Carolina's WITN News. The actor passed away at his home in Manteo, NC.
Griffith is best known for his long-running role on "The Andy Griffith" show, which was set in the fictional town of Mayberry, North Carolina. His portrayal of law enforcer Andy Taylor earned him the title of 'America's Favorite Sheriff.' The show ran from 1960 - 68. He later appeared on "Mayberry R.F.D.," as well as the long-running series "Matlock." He also made numerous guest appearances on "Dawsen's Creek."
Griffith starred in the Broadway musical, Destry Rides Again, and is featured on the show's original Broadway cast recording. He played Tom Destry, a character created for the screen by Jimmy Stewart. He starred opposite Dolores Gray as saloon girl Frenchy. He returned to Broadway in 1955's No Time for Sergeants, which earned him a Tony nomination. He later appeared in the show's film adaptation.
Griffith was also a Grammy award-winning southern gospel singer. In 2005, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George W. Bush.