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“America’s Favorite Sheriff” Andy Griffith Dies At 86

Former University of North Carolina President Bill Friday announced his close friend Andy Griffith‘s death this morning, reporting that the 86-year-old actor passed away at approximately 7 a.m. in his Dare County home.

Dare County Sheriff Doug Doughtie confirmed that an ambulance was sent to the actor’s home this morning at around the same time. The cause of Griffith’s death remains unknown, though more details are expected to surface.

Griffith’s role as Sheriff Andy Taylor on The Andy Griffith Show landed him with the nickname of “America’s Favorite Sheriff,” a legacy that continued with him throughout the show’s duration in the 60’s. He later took up the role of lawyer Ben Matlock in ABC and NBC’s Matlock, which ran until 1995.

In 2005, Griffith received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from then-President George W. Bush for his contributions to American television.

But aside from acting, Griffith was also a man of many talents as TMZ attests:

“In addition to starring in his show and the subsequent Mayberry R.F.D., Griffith was a Grammy award-winning southern gospel singer. Of course, Griffith also starred in the long-running series, Matlock and often made guest appearances in other shows, including Dawson’s Creek.'”

For more on Griffith’s iconic TV career, Today Entertainment provides a well-rounded summary here.

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