Last year, The Andy Griffith Show actor Don Knotts’ daughter, Karen Knotts, opened up about her late father’s high school life, and how he came into his own during his teen years.
Knotts is best known for his role as the lovable and goofy deputy Barney Fife. Although his character was a bit of a klutz, he was the exact opposite in high school. While speaking with Closer Weekly in July 2020, Karen shared that her dad truly “blossomed” in high school.
The Andy Griffith Show star got his first taste of emotional freedom while attending Morgantown High School in West Virginia. According to his daughter, it offered Knotts salvation to his teenage angst. As she said in the interview, “his whole world changed” in high school.
“His whole world changed,” Karen told Closer Weekly. “He just blossomed and he said those high school years were the best years of his life. He was class president every year, he had a column in the yearbook that was called ‘Dots and Dashes by Knotts.’ He was the most popular boy, and he had this best friend and they got into all of these adventures.”
“The world was his oyster, and it was the first time he’d ever experienced such complete happiness. Where all those problems fell away and there he was, living the beautiful life. Of course, things came back to haunt him later, because he had a lifelong condition of hypochondria, which he battled. But he even conquered that in the end,” she continued.
‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Star Wreaked ‘Havoc’ With High School Prank
During the same interview, The Andy Griffith Show star’s daughter shared another amusing anecdote from her father’s time in high school. Knotts was already stealing scenes in real life even before he was famous. In fact, he’d practice his comedy routines on his high school peers, which caused some good-natured trouble.
As Karen reflected on her father’s early life, she recalled Knotts’ old high school pranks. She said her dad and other students used to hang out in a small walkway of Morgantown High School. The students called it Senior Alley, and that’s where Don Knotts first honed his comedic skills.
“It was where all the older teens used to stand and check each other out,” Karen says. “He used to stand there next to another boy and throw his voice to a girl, and when she turned around to look, she would see that other boy. He was causing all kinds of havoc and having a good time.”
Knotts got into ventriloquism early on in his life, which came in handy for his pranks. His penchant for comedy began during the early years of his life. However, no one could’ve known the Morgantown kid pranking students on Senior Alley would go on to star in The Andy Griffith Show, Three’s Company, and much more.