‘Dukes of Hazzard’: Tom Wopat Explained How Andy Griffith Was a Major Influence for Him

by Katie Maloney

Dukes of Hazzard star, Tom Wopat once explained why he respected actor Andy Griffith.

After its debut in 1978, Dukes of Hazzard quickly became an American sensation. Everyone wanted to tune in to watch Bo and Luke Duke and their cousin Daisy drive around in their 1969 Dodge Charger and evade corrupt police officers. Tom Wopat, who played Luke Duke on the show, quickly became one of the most lusted after men on television. So, it’s funny to think that an 80s heartthrob like Wopat idolized a buttoned-up character like Andy Taylor on The Andy Griffith Show. But he did. During an interview in 2005, Wopat talked about why he respected actor Andy Griffith.

“I look at people who are honest in what they do,” said Wopat. “Andy Griffith is a really interesting actor, and he had quite a film career before he did television. I like that kind of sincerity and truthfulness.”

Tom Wopat added that he was often stunned by the attention Dukes of Hazzard receives even decades after the show ended.

“It boggles the mind,” he said. “I forget about it on occasion, and it’s brought back to me pretty quickly, usually. It was like high school. I had a great deal of fun doing it. We had lots of laughs and formed great relationships. It’s been twenty years since it’s been off the air.”

Tom Wopat Got His Start On Broadway Before Landing Dukes Of Hazzard

Wopat rose to fame as Luke Duke on Dukes of Hazzard from 1979-1985. But he wasn’t born in the spotlight. In fact, he grew up in a place far from the glamor of Hollywood. Tom Wopat was one of seven children raised on his family’s dairy farm in rural Wisconsin. By age 12, Wopat was singing and dancing in school musicals. Once he graduated high school, he decided to attend the University of Wisconsin and pursue a music career. Before college graduation, Wopat dropped out to front a rock band as both the guitarist and lead singer. After his time with the band, he landed roles in popular musicals including South Pacific, West Side Story, and Jesus Christ Superstar.

Then, in 1978, Tom Wopat got his big break on Broadway as a replacement actor in the musical “I Love My Wife.” It didn’t take long for Hollywood agents to take notice of Wopats strong-but-silent good looks. And he quickly booked his iconic role on Dukes of Hazzard.