TV Legend Andy Griffith Dead at 86

Known and adored by millions for his iconic TV characters, legendary actor Andy Griffith died at the age of 86. INSIDE EDITION looks back at his career.

Sad news broke today that beloved TV legend Andy Griffith is dead at age 86.

He passed away peacefully around 7:00 a.m. Tuesday at his home on Roanoke Island, North Carolina, and has already been laid to rest there.

Oscar-winning director Ron Howard, who was just 6 years old when he played Griffith's TV son Opie, said in a statement:

"His love of creating, the joy he took in it, whether it was drama or comedy or his music, was inspiring to grow up around. He was a great influence on me. His passing is sad. But he lived a great rich life.

Griffith was a country music singer when he got his big break starring in the 1957 classic movie A Face In The Crowd.

It was three years later, in 1960, that he became a TV superstar, as the sheriff of the fictional small southern town of Mayberry alongside his pal, Don Knotts, as deputy Barney Fife.

And how many actors wind up starring in two classic TV shows? Griffith became a favorite of a whole new generation in the legal drama Matlock, which ran for nine seasons until 1995.

Behind-the-scenes, Andy Griffith experienced sorrow in his personal life. His son, Sam died from the effects of alcoholism, and Griffith was married three times. His wife Cindy was at his bedside when he passed away Tuesday morning.  

A statue that stands in Raleigh, North Carolina, is how we'll remember him. It recalls a more innocent time when our nation tuned in every week to watch Andy Griffith bring homespun common sense to a town called Mayberry.