Before he landed “The Andy Griffith Show,” Griffith was just an up-and-coming comic from North Carolina. Luckily for him, his future manager had a habit of driving around in a Rolls Royce with multiple telephones installed in it. And one night in 1953, while he was driving around, Richard O. Linke’s radio picked up a signal from a faraway station.
The Southern station was playing Griffith’s breakout comedy routine, titled “What It Was, Was Football.” In it, Griffith narrates a football game from the perspective of a spectator who has never watched the game before.
Linke, who oversaw publicity at Capitol Records, loved Griffith’s performance, according to MeTV. And he decided to fly to North Carolina right away.
Linke Went on to Produce ‘The Andy Griffith Show’
Once he got to North Carolina, Linke bought the rights to “What It Was, Was Football.” He paid $10,000 for them. And he signed a contract with Griffith for $300 a week.
According to Television Magazine, Linke took a 15% cut of all his clients’ income. He admitted to the magazine that he was a micromanager, overseeing every facet of his clients’ careers.
“I’m in every aspect of my clients’ careers. It’s like a marriage,” Linke said. “I counsel and advise and I market them just like General Foods markets Sanka off a shelf.”
In addition to “The Andy Griffith Show,” Linke also got involved in the show’s spinoffs and, later on, in “Matlock.” He also managed other actors who appeared on “The Andy Griffith Show,” such as Jim Nabors, Jerry Van Dyke and Ken Berry.
Linke Died in 2016
Griffith’s manager passed away in 2016 at age 98. He died at his home in Kona, Hawaii.
Linke had served as Griffith’s manager for almost 40 years. He guided Griffith’s career and was Griffith’s most trusted adviser, according to the Associated Press.
After he retired from his career as a producer and manager, Linke had become a professor at Ohio University, his alma mater, per Variety. He founded a journalism scholarship in his name while he was there.
Upon his death, Linke left behind his wife Bettina and five children.