Andy Griffith Could Have an ‘Explosive Temper’

Actor, comedian, and producer Andy Griffith was deeply beloved by his friends and fans alike. His contributions to the world of entertainment are appreciated far and wide to this day. But Griffith was not without his demons.

Andy Griffith and Don Knotts
Andy Griffith and Don Knotts | CBS via Getty Images

Andy Griffith’s ‘explosive temper’

As Griffith fans know, it’s been alleged that the actor struggled with alcoholism. He also had a rare nerve disorder called Guillain-Barré syndrome and lived through the death of one of his children. According to Daniel de Visé, author of Andy & Don: The Making of a Friendship and a Classic American TV Show, he had some anger.

“He could have this explosive temper,” he told Closer. “He punched out a car window and put his fists through doors.”

Griffith had a tough childhood. As a baby, he slept in a dresser drawer because his parents couldn’t afford a crib. When his father finally saved enough to buy a home, it was on “the poor side of town.”

By that time, Griffith’s parents could afford to dress him in clean clothes, but he was bullied for it.

“A lot of the kids were not well-dressed, and there was a perception that Andy was a mama’s boy, so he got bullied a lot,” de Visé told the publication.

Andy Griffith’s marriage with Barbara Bray Edwards

In 1949, Griffith married Barbara Bray Edwards. They formed a musical-comedy act and traveled around performing.

“Everybody thought Barbara was going to be the famous one,” said de Visé.

So when Griffith became successful first when he starred in No Time for Sergeants, “she didn’t fall so naturally into the performer’s wife role.”

Andy Griffith sits on a sofa with his first wife, Barbara Edwards | Darlene Hammond/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

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“Barbara had a drinking problem, and Andy drank a lot,” said de Visé. “He and Barbara squabbled, and Andy had other relationships.”

Eventually, the two divorced and Griffith went on to marry Solica Cassuto in 1973 (only to separate in 1981), and Cindi Knight in 1983. With Knight, Griffith was truly happy.

“She and I are not only married, we’re partners,” the publication reports Griffith saying. “She helps me very much.”

Andy Griffith’s adopted son, Andy Griffith Jr.

Another source of heartbreak in Griffith’s life was the death of his adopted son, Andy Griffith Jr.

“My brother had some troubles, but it wasn’t my dad’s fault,” said Dixie, Griffith’s daughter. “It affected my dad on a very, very deep level. I went to my brother’s funeral service, but my dad wasn’t able to go. There would be too many magazines and cameras, and it just wasn’t a good place for him to be.”

Andy Griffith Jr. died at age 37 after battling alcoholism.

But Dixie still has wonderful memories of the times she spent with her father.

“During the summers, we’d go back to North Carolina and play volleyball and water ski,” she said. “I would play with him in the pool, and he’d put me up on his shoulders. He’d always stop what he was doing to play with me.”