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6 things you might not have known about Andy Griffith

July 03, 2012|RedEye

Six things you might not know about Andy Griffith, who died Tuesday at 86.

Vital stats: Born Andrew Samuel Griffith, June 1, 1926, in Mount Airy, N.C.

>> In the early 1950s, he tried his hand at stand-up comedy. In 1953, he recorded "What it Was, Was Football," a monologue from the point of view of a southern preacher seeing a college football game for the first time. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oNxLxTZHKM8). The naïve country preacher describes it as "the awfullest fight that I have ever seen ... in my life!"

>> Before his parents bought a house, Andy Griffith had no crib or bed to sleep in. He spent the first few months of his life sleeping in drawers.

>> The whistling for the opening theme of"The Andy Griffith Show"was by composer Earle Hagen, who made music for more than 3,000 other shows including "The Duke of Hazzard," "Eight is Enough" and "Movin' On." Griffith composed lyrics to the tune, titled “The Fishing Hole,” but they never aired.

>> Andy Taylor, Griffith's character in the show, was ranked No. 8 in TV Guide's greatest TV Dads of All Time. The show was ranked No. 9 in the magazine's Greatest Shows of All Time.

>> "Breaking Bad"star Bryan Cranston made two appearances on Griffith's "Matlock," one in 1987, and another in 1991. Other notable guest stars include country singer Randy Travis and Dick Van Dyke.

>> Griffith was awarded the "Presidential Medal of Freedom" byGeorge W. Bush. It's the United States' highest award for a civilian.

Sources: IMDB, biography.com

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