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Look back at Griffith's career

Shaun Harrison
1 of 11 Capitol Records

"What It Was, Was Football"

Griffith began his career as a monologist. His most famous recording was 1953's "What It Was, Was Football," which ended up selling 800,000 copies that year.
2 of 11 CBS Archive/Landov

The Ed Sullivan Show

Griffith was a fixture on such variety programs as The Ed Sullivan Show and The Steve Allen Show in the 1950s.
3 of 11 Everett Collection

No Time for Sergeants

Griffith first starred as country boy Will Stockdale who is drafted into the U.S. Army in a one-hour teleplay of No Time for Sergeants in 1955. He later reprised the role on Broadway, for which he earned a Tony nomination, and in a 1958 film adaptation.
4 of 11 Everett Collection

A Face in the Crowd

Griffith got his big Hollywood break in Elia Kazan's critically acclaimed 1957 drama, playing a power-hungry country boy.
5 of 11 Everett Collection

The Andy Griffith Show

Griffith achieved TV immortality playing the sage Mayberry town sheriff Andy Taylor on the sitcom, which ran from 1960 to 1968. The show also starred Griffith's friend Don Knotts and launched the career of future Oscar-winning director Ron Howard.
6 of 11 Everett Collection

Mayberry R.F.D.

The Andy Griffith Show continued as Mayberry R.F.D. following Griffith's departure. Griffith recurred on the series, which lasted three seasons.
7 of 11 ABC Arhcive/Getty Images

The Mod Squad

Griffith guest-starred on a 1972 episode of The Mod Squad. His other TV credits include Hawaii Five-O, Fantasy Island and The Bionic Woman.
8 of 11 Viacom Productions/Everett Collection


Griffith enjoyed a career renaissance in 1986 when signed on as the titular character, defense lawyer Ben Matlock, in Matlock. The legal drama ran for nine years.
9 of 11 Buena Vista Pictures/Everett Collection

Spy Hard

Griffith played the comical villain General Rancor opposite Leslie Nielsen in this 1996 spy spoof.
10 of 11 Fox Searchlight/Everett Collection


In the 2007 film, Griffith played Ole Joe, the crotchety owner of the diner where Keri Russell's character works.
11 of 11 Story Films

Play the Game

Griffith's final role was as a widowed grandfather in this 2009 independent film.