‘The Andy Griffith Show’: How Did Andy Griffith Die?

Andy Griffith, star of The Andy Griffith Show, died July 3, 2012 at the age of 86. How did Griffith die? Here’s what Showbiz Cheat Sheet knows.

Andy Griffith almost became a preacher

Ron Howard and Andy Griffith|CBS via Getty Images
Ron Howard and Andy Griffith| CBS via Getty Images

Griffith was interested in entertainment, but his faith was also a priority. He initially set his hopes on becoming a preacher. During an interview with American Profile, Griffith revealed he used to sing and play music in church. His first instrument was a slide trombone he purchased from a Spiegel catalog.

He didn’t know how to play the instrument, so he asked a local pastor to teach him. This led to Griffith playing a solo in church just two months later. The relationship he formed with the pastor planted a desire in him to preach, reports American Profile.

“When I was in high school, I was not athletic, we didn’t have money, and I was not a good student,” Griffith told the publication. “But when music came into my life, with the trombone and the singing, I became somebody. That is, I became an individual, where an athlete is a real individual, or a fine student is a real individual.”

Andy Griffith on the set of The Andy Griffith Show | CBS via Getty Images
Andy Griffith on the set of The Andy Griffith Show | CBS via Getty Images

Griffith went on to attend the University of North Carolina. He decided to major in sociology. He later considered majoring in music. However, he still felt the call to preach. He asked the bishop what he should do.

“I went to the bishop and said, ‘Can I major in music and still be a minister?’ and he said no,” Griffith told American Profile. “I went back and prayed over it for a couple of weeks, and I went back to the bishop and said, ‘I’m going to major in music.’ So that was it.”  

How Andy Griffith died

Andy Griffith died after having a heart attack. The actor died at home in Roanoke Island, according to CNN. His wife, Cindi, released a statement shortly after his death. “I cannot imagine life without Andy, but I take comfort and strength in God’s Grace and in the knowledge that Andy is at peace and with God,” said Cindi in a statement.

A family spokesperson told CNN that Griffith desired to be buried quickly. He wanted to avoid a media frenzy when he died, so he was laid to rest just hours after his death, according to author Daniel de Visé in the book Andy and Don: The Making of a Friendship and a Classic American. “It had been planned for some time,” said the spokesperson. “This was the wish of his family.”

Andy Griffith on the making of ‘The Andy Griffith Show’

During an interview with Archive of American Television, Griffith said the producers were careful about the jokes on the show. “I wanted to keep the characters clean,” said Griffith. “If a joke would make a lie out of a character, we would throw the joke out. And that became very important. It became a basic rule. And because of the nature of the show, morality just came right along with it.”

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