The bumbling deputy Barney Fife, played by Don Knotts on The Andy Griffith Show from 1960 to 1968, wasn’t exactly the picture of a ladies’ man. However, according to his daughter, his character’s persona couldn’t have been further from the real Don Knotts. Apparently, he had a way with women that could only be described as magnetic.
The Barney Fife actor had three wives throughout his life. His daughter, Karen, was a result of his first marriage to Kathryn Metz. She recently published a memoir titled “Tied Up in Knotts: My Dad and Me.” In the book, she describes what it was like growing up with her dad, who was single and dating while Karen was in high school.
“There was something about my dad. Even I noticed like there was something about him that drew you in. Like you could just be sitting and having a normal conversation with him, and you would just be staring into his eyes, like trying to figure out what he was really thinking. There was something magnetic about his personality, and women definitely responded to that,” Karen told Page Six.
Karen got to see her dad in multiple settings, whether it was on The Andy Griffith Show set or at home. Over the years, she never saw the Barney Fife actor get in any trouble with a woman, no matter the setting.
“There was never a woman who was angry at him. Like nobody said, ‘Oh, your dad didn’t come through with the relationship’ or anything. Everybody loved him, and if the relationship was over, they became his friend,” Karen continued.
‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Star Was a Father Figure on Set
Karen also observed a general openness about Don Knotts in the workplace. As his daughter, she noticed that other people on The Andy Griffith Show set saw him as a fatherlike figure too. At least, when he was in the proper mood for playing that role.
“He fascinated me. He had these mood swings, and you could look at his face and see, like, OK, this is not a good time to approach him, but he was always very sweet to me. And he was like a father figure on the set. He was somebody that people could go and talk to,” Karen continued in the interview with Page Six.
Sometimes, though, Karen struggled with people’s perceptions of her dad. For millions, Don Knotts was Barney Fife. They didn’t see them as two separate entities.
“People always tend to associate him with his characters. And that frustrated me because I thought my dad was so interesting,” she added.
No one can deny that Knotts was interesting. After The Andy Griffith Show, he starred in classics like Three’s Company and Matlock.