Nine years ago almost to the day, the star and namesake of The Andy Griffith Show passed away. Andy Griffith died at 86 years old on July 3, 2012. While his death didn’t come as a surprise considering his health issues over the years, his almost immediate burial confused many.
Griffith died after suffering a heart attack at his coastal North Carolina home on Roanoke Island. Oddly enough though, he was buried within only five hours of passing away. The Andy Griffith Show star was lowered into the ground in the Griffith family cemetery on the estate’s private property just hours after he passed.
Considering Andy Griffith had tons of fans, one would be led to believe the actor would have a more formal funeral. Many celebrities of his caliber often have public viewings and memorial services, but not Griffith. The Griffith family specifically requested that he be buried right away. There doesn’t seem to be many details as to why though.
The Andy Griffith Show actor lived a notoriously private life. So he and his family may not have wanted a public service of any sort. Additionally, it may have simply come down to a personal request on his own part. He might not have wanted all the pomp and circumstance that comes along with many celebrity deaths.
Whatever the reasoning, the decision is a strange one to say the least. In fact, once most fans heard about Griffith’s death, the star was already six feet under.
‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Star Cancels Proposed Idea for Barney Fife Statue
The Andy Griffith Show star made another peculiar decision later in life as well. Griffith and his son in the classic show Opie (Ron Howard) have a joint statue commemorating the famous characters. The statues sit outside of Griffith’s old elementary school in Mount Airy, North Carolina – his hometown and the inspiration for Mayberry.
However, when two fans proposed a statue for his right-hand man Barney Fife, Griffith shut the idea down fast. Don Knotts passed away back in February of 2006. Following his death, two The Andy Griffith Show fans wanted to honor Knotts’ career. It seemed like an obvious choice where to put the statue since the two fans hailed from Mount Airy.
The pair commissioned a life-size bronze statue of Barney Fife, and figured it would fit perfectly beside the Andy and Opie statue. Even though it sounded like a good plan on paper, Andy Griffith had no interest in the idea.
The Andy Griffith Show‘s main character wasn’t exactly pleased about the proposed statue, according to author Daniel de Visé’s book Andy and Don. The author said that Griffith “wanted the statue nipped in the bud.” Furthermore, the actor called Knott’s widow to ask her to rescind her blessing for the statue’s creation.
It isn’t clear why Griffith had no interest in the Barney statue’s creation. It could have revolved around the fact that Mount Airy is his hometown and not Knotts. Griffith succeeded in convincing Knotts’ wife to reject the proposal. But in 2016, Knotts got his own statue in his hometown of Morgantown, West Virginia, and deservedly so.