Andy Griffith, whose longrunning television work rendered both lawyers and lawman into endearing, folksy father figures, died early this morning at the age of 86.
NBC affiliate WITN brings the sad news, reporting that a close friend of the Matlock star has confirmed that the actor died of yet-undisclosed causes in his Roanoke Island home at roughly 7 AM.
Griffith was of course best known for his work on his eponymous show, in which he played Mayberry sheriff Andy Taylor from 1960 to 1968. He continued his work on television for nearly a decade as Ben Matlock, a criminal defense attorney known for his incriminating mid-trial accusations that inevitably got his client off while pointing the figure at the real culprit. He further entertained grandparents as a recording artist, releasing albums ranging from comedy monologues to country and gospel songs; his 1996 recording of Christian hymns was certified platinum.
He is survived by wife Cindi and daughter Dixie.
Meanwhile, in Heaven...