‘Andy Griffith Show’ Star Don Knotts Was Often Confused For a Classmate in High School

by Megan Molseed

Who would have thought that the “one-and-only” Don Knotts that we have loved for decades wasn’t the only one? And, who would’ve thought the other Don Knotts actually attended the same West Virginia high school as the famous Andy Griffith Show actor?

In 1988, Hollywood Columnist Dick Kleiner received an inquiry about the classic television star.

This inquiry would soon lead to a mini-mystery and series of coincidences surrounding the hometown of The Andy Griffith Show’s bumbling deputy Barney Fife actor, Don Knotts.

“Dear Dick,” read the letter. “Can you tell me if Don Knotts of TV and movie fame is the same Don Knotts I served with back in the Navy in ’43.”

The letter went on to note that the Don Knotts he knew was originally from Morgantown, West Virginia.

“We were at Kiska in the Aleutians,” noted the letter writer. “This Don Knotts was from Morgantown, W.V.”

A Complicated Story

You would think that the fact the famous Andy Griffith Show deputy, and famous Hollywood star, is from Morgantown West Virginia would make this an open and shut case, right?

Well…not so fast, there is a deeper story to this.

The Don Knotts who portrayed Barney Fife on the popular Andy Griffith Show sitcom, as well as a number of other most memorable characters such as Three’s Company’s Mr. Furley or Luther Heggs from The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, did grow up in Morgantown W.V. There is even a bronze statue of the beloved actor erected in Morgantown. But, while he did serve with the Army in his younger days, Knotts had never served in the Navy.

The Mystery of the ‘Andy Griffith Show’ Actor

It wasn’t for another six months that the matter was cleared completely.

Six months after the initial inquiry that was sent to Dick Kleiner, the Hollywood columnist received another note that seemed to clear everything up.

“I am the Don Knotts who served in the Navy in ’43 in the Aleutians,” the letter read.

“And, curiously, I went through high school with the other Don Knotts in Morgantown, W. Va.,” the writer continued.

“Everyone called him ‘Little Don’ and me ‘Big Don,'” this Don Knotts explained. “Thought you’d like to know.”

The fact that two Don Knotts’s ended up in the same school in the same town is extremely odd. And, to add to that the fact that one of these Don Knotts’s became one of the most well-known men in Hollywood is even a little more curious. Of course, it does make sense that our Don Knotts, the one who portrayed the goofball deputy we have come to love would be known as “Little Don.”

Of course, the famous columnist needed to go a little further on this, and he asked the letter writer to let readers know whether or not he and the famous Don Knotts were actually related.

“I wish you let me — and the rest of us — know if you and ‘Little Don’ were related,” Dick Kleiner wrote in response to the letter.

Whether or not Kleiner received a response to his question is unclear.

However, we think it would be safe to assume that there is no relation between the two Don’s. Otherwise, “Big Don” would certainly be bragging about that in his letter, right?