‘The Andy Griffith Show’: Jerry Van Dyke Said He ‘Wouldn’t Have Taken’ Role to Fill In for Don Knotts

by Will Shepard
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Jerry Van Dyke had a lengthy and profitable career in Hollywood. Even though his older brother, Dick, was far better known than he was, he made a name for himself.

He began acting in the 1940s and carried on doing so until 2015, three years before he passed away. During an interview with Pop Dose in 2013, Jerry Van Dyke talked about a lot of his career.

In particular, he shared several memories he had about being friends with Don Knotts. When Knotts left The Andy Griffith show after its fifth season, Jerry Van Dyke was considered for the role. During the interview, he was asked about the possibility that he would have replaced Barney Fife.

“They were talking about it,” Van Dyke explained. “They did a show, and I appeared where I basically played Don Knotts’ part.”

Even though there was never a formal offer to take part in The Andy Griffith Show, Jerry Van Dyke never considered the role. He explained his reasoning in the interview.

“I was a carnival guy, and my mother knew Aunt Bea, and…well, that was the episode, and it was a very funny episode. And I know they wanted me to do it, but I never had a real offer for it,” the actor remembered. “I know they were kicking it around, though. But I wouldn’t have taken it, anyway. It would’ve been a really dumb move.”

Jerry Van Dyke Decided Not to Join “Gilligan’s Island”

This was not the only role that Jerry Van Dyke turned down in his career. In 1964, he decided not to join the cast of Gilligan’s Island as the role of Gilligan. Instead, he wanted to have his own show, like his older brother.

In 1965, he got his wish and was given his own show, “My Mother the Car.” But, Van Dyke had a good reason for declining the role of Gilligan. He hated the script and said that it was “the worst thing I’d ever read.”

Even though he hated the script so much, Gilligan’s Island became a massive success. For fans of the show, it seems almost crazy to think about someone else playing Gilligan.

However, when the creators of the show wanted to cast Jerry Van Dyke, they thought he was going to be perfect for the show. They believed he was the answer to their search.

Nonetheless, Gilligan’s Island and Jerry Van Dyke had their own successes. While the show had a short life, it still lives on in its fans’ minds.

Outsider.com