Andy Griffith died this morning. He was 86.
I met him once.
In October 2011, I was doing a shoot for ‘The Lost Colony’ on Roanoke Island down in North Carolina.
I had spent a few days shooting around the island and had wandered over to Manteo a time or two.
I mentioned to my client that it would be cool to be able to run into Andy Griffith while I was in town. He had a nice home in Manteo where he had retired to after leaving weekly television.
My client warned me that Andy was a curmudgeon who didn’t take kindly to his mornings being interrupted or fans that would “drool” over him.
A couple days later as I was going into the Post Office on Manteo I ran into Andy Griffith as he was coming out.
I smiled, nodded and said, “Good morning Mr. Griffith”. He nodded and smiled and returned the greeting. I told him, “I bet you’re tired of hearing this, but I grew up with you and Opie”. He smiled, looked at my long hair and said, “Kinda looks like you’re still in the sixties”.
And then he said something that was an insight into the type person he really was. He asked me where I was from and what I was doing in Manteo as he didn’t recall seeing me around before. Grinning he said, “You stand out. I’d remember somebody like you”.
I smiled, handed him a business card and told him I was on the island doing a shoot for The Lost Colony. He had gotten a big push in his acting career when he starred in the production many years ago and together, sitting on the bench outside of the Manteo Post Office, Andy told me a few stories about his time with the cast of The Lost Colony and his time in “Mayberry”.
Reaching over he patted my knee and said, “Well, I’ve got to be going. Sorry to have talked your ear off”. I assured him it was my pleasure and that if he’d send me an email, I’d be glad to send him a link to the shots I was getting. He smiled, nodded, patted the breast pocket of his shirt and said, “I’ve got your email right here”.
A few days later I got an email from his secretary. Apparently Andy DID go to the website and checked out the photos. His secretary told me he liked them all, but there was one in particular.
The one you see in this post.
Andy wasn’t a curmudgeon like I had been warned. He was a friendly guy who just wanted to be known for who he was — and not for the star persona.
RIP Andy, I’m going to miss you.