Andy Griffith, who can only be described as one of television's greatest icons, died today at the age of 86, according to local reports.
Dare County Sheriff Doug Doughtie confirmed to WITN News that Griffith has passed.
Griffith rose to fame as Sheriff Andy Taylor in The Andy Griffith Show on CBS from 1960-1968. USA Today noted that his greatest success came later in life with the legal drama Matlock from 1986 to 1995.
In 2005, Griffith received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. E! Online reported that then-President George W. Bush noted that Griffith was larger than any show he ever appeared on saying, "TV shows come and go, but there's only one Andy Griffith."
President Obama released a statement today saying, "Michelle and I were saddened to hear about the passing of Andy Griffith this morning. A performer of extraordinary talent, Andy was beloved by generations of fans and revered by entertainers who followed in his footsteps. He brought us characters from Sheriff Andy Taylor to Ben Matlock, and in the process, warmed the hearts of Americans everywhere. Our thoughts and prayers are with Andy’s family," according to Politico.
Griffith married his first wife Barbara Bray Edwards in 1949. They two children together, Dixie and Sam. Griffith and Edwards divorced in 1972 and she received custody of their daughter, while he received custody of son Sam, who died in 1996 after years of battling alcoholism, USA Today noted. His second marriage, to Greek actress Solica Cassuto, lasted eight years, from 1973 to 1981.
Entertainment Weekly noted that in 1993 Griffith said, “I don’t know how to do but two things. I know how to write and I know how to act. I’m just not good at anything else.”