Andy Griffith Once Reflected on Work With Don Knotts in Las Vegas

by Madison Miller

When it comes to iconic pairings in TV history, few can really measure up to Andy Griffith and Don Knotts. The two were the stars of “The Andy Griffith Show” and played Andy Taylor and Barney Fife on the screen.

The chemistry between the two was truly unreal. Barney Fife offered that comedic relief that helped make the show as entertaining as it was.

While the two clearly made a good pair on TV, what did they think of each other in real life?

Andy Griffith on Working with Don Knotts

“I enjoy working with Don and Jerry. That’s what makes our show work …” Andy Griffith said during a 1969 interview on Ralph Pearl’s Las Vegas.

Clearly, the two had a working relationship that was exceptionally effective. This also became clear when Don Knotts sadly passed away on February 24, 2006. He was 81 when he passed away from pulmonary and respiratory complications of pneumonia related to lung cancer.

Shortly after his death, Andy Griffith spoke about his late friend and co-star during an interview with “The Today Show.” It’s an interview that could cause some fans to leak some tears, so beware. He even says at the very beginning that he lost his best friend.

He opened up about the fact that the two met together in the Broadway show, “No Time for Sergeants” in 1955. Even before that, they were aware of each other professionally.

Knotts worked on a radio show called “Bobby Benson and the B-Bar-B Riders.” Andy happened to recognize his voice from the radio and would approach him to ask about it. This was the start of a really special decades-long friendship, part of which we got to see on “The Andy Griffith Show.”

“He was very much in control of himself. Barney… Don. Don was an extraordinarily bright man. He knew life, he knew how to get around. He had a great admiration of women and he wound up with a good one,” Griffith said about his friend when he asked what he was like compared to his character.

The Last Time Griffith Saw Knotts

Given just how close the two were, the last time they saw each other was actually at Don Knotts’ death bed.

“I told him, I said. His first name was Jess. He hated that name but he told me it once so I couldn’t help but call him Jesse. I said, ‘Jess, breathe. You got to make this, you got to pull through. Breathe.’ And, ya know, I saw his chest heave. And I said, ‘That’s a boy, just keep breathing,’ and his shoulder moved,” Griffith said during that same interview.

The two got to work with each other for many years and never seemed to get sick of each other. Griffith even said that “everything we did came out of our friendship.”