Andy Griffith, everyone’s favorite Mayberry Sheriff, sadly passed away in July of 2012 at the age of 86. Ron Howard heard about the devastating news and spoke out about growing up with his TV dad on set. Ron famously portrayed Griffith’s son, “Opie” on The Andy Griffith Show.
What Was Andy Griffith’s Special Trait?
Howard expresses that people who met Andy would be surprised to learn about his success. It was due to his focus on working hard and striving to be the best. He applied this mindset to both his career and personal life.
“If people who met him were to be surprised [to learn something about him] it would be this sort of simple commitment to excellence,” says Howard. “This straightforward work ethic that he adhered to in a very unpretentious way with great humility and very few words.”
Howard also said that people never realized the TV star’s continuing reach for success due to his humility and kind nature. Howard can’t express how nice, humourous, and happy Griffith was. He believes that the famous actor spread positivity to all he met. Howard describes him as having “a great sense of humor about life.” However, he could quickly become serious about excelling at his job.
“There was a fantastic equilibrium between his love of laughter and jokes and funny stories and songs and all that, and then he could turn on a dime and be the utmost professional,” he says joyfully.
Ron Howard Felt Comfortable Thanks to Andy
At the age of five, Ron was cast as Griffith’s TV son “Opie” on The Andy Griffith Show. He first met the man who would impact his life as a positive role model and friend while on the show. Howard tells a story, which oddly includes a turtle, about the two’s first interaction.
During the scene, Howard is holding a fake turtle, but he must pretend like it was real. He is directed to be upset and begin crying when he realizes the turtle is “dead.”
The young boy was given reassurance from Griffith by making a joke. After the interaction in their first scene together, Howard felt much more comfortable while filming and being on set.
“I was supposed to be crying and very emotional. I remember him looking at that little turtle and talking to me about how it was kind of funny to have to pretend that it was dead,” says Howard. “So I recall just a very relaxed first impression.”
How Howard Wants Andy To Be Remembered
Ron Howard wants people to see Andy Griffith as more than just an actor. Howard hopes the legendary Griffith will be remembered as a person who celebrated life and genuinely loved people.
“He loved people,” says Howard. “He loved their foibles, their foibles, their quirks, and he celebrated that on the show, and he appreciated it about people in life.”