- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Some of the highlights of Andy Griffith’s career:

1953: Has a hit single as Deacon Andy Griffith with the comic monologue “What It Was, Was Football!”

1955: Becomes a Broadway star with the hit comedy “No Time for Sergeants,” gaining a Tony nomination for best featured (supporting) actor. (Don Knotts also is in the play.) Reaches the record charts again with top 30 “Make Yourself Comfortable.”

1957: Makes movie debut in “A Face in the Crowd,” playing a homespun television commentator whose corruption is hidden from the public.

1958: Reprises Broadway role in film version “No Time for Sergeants”; once again, Knotts is in the cast.

1959: Returns to Broadway in “Destry Rides Again.” Nominated for Tony as best actor in a musical.

October 1960: “The Andy Griffith Show” premieres on CBS. The gentle comedy, co-starring Knotts, Ron Howard, Frances Bavier and Jim Nabors, would become a television classic. It runs for eight years and has remained a favorite in reruns.

1964-70: Spinoff “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.,” starring Nabors, runs on CBS.

1968-71: “Mayberry R.F.D.,” the sequel show without Griffith but with the Mayberry setting and some continuing characters, runs on ABC.

September 1986: “Matlock,” an hour-long drama series starring Griffith as a Southern defense lawyer, premieres on NBC. Later moving to ABC, it runs until 1995.

1996: Release of “I Love to Tell the Story _ 25 Timeless Hymns,” an album of gospel songs. It wins Griffith a Grammy for best Southern gospel, country gospel or bluegrass gospel album.

2003: Statue of Andy and Opie from “The Andy Griffith Show” unveiled in Raleigh, N.C., part of a series of TV-related statues in various cities sponsored by the cable network TV Land.

2005: Receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civil award.

2007: Gains new acclaim playing the cranky diner owner in the hit independent film “Waitress.”

2008: Teams with country star Brad Paisley on the video for Paisley’s single “Waitin’ on a Woman.” It wins Country Music Association award for best video of the year.

2009: Plays the role of Grandpa Joe in the film “Play the Game.”

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