Knotts died in 2006 at age 81.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
After all, Griffith set his namesake show in a make-believe town based on his hometown of Mount Airy, N.C., and played his “aw, shucks” persona to such perfection that viewers easily believed the character and the man were one.
Griffith, 86, died Tuesday at his coastal home, Dare County Sheriff Doug Doughtie said in a statement.
“Mr. Griffith passed away this morning at his home peacefully and has been laid to rest on his beloved Roanoke Island,” Doughtie told The Associated Press, reading from a family statement.
Although he acknowledged some similarities between himself and the wise sheriff who oversaw a town of eccentrics, they weren’t the same. Griffith was more complicated than the role he played _ witnessed by his three marriages if nothing else.
But that perception led people to believe Griffith was all that was good about North Carolina and put pressure on him to live up to an impossible Hollywood standard.
He protected his privacy in the coastal town of Manteo, by building a circle of friends who revealed little to nothing about him.
Strangers who asked where Griffith lived would receive circular directions that took them to the beach, said William Ivey Long, the Tony Award-winning costume designer whose parents were friends with Griffith and his first wife, Barbara.