Andy Griffith liked his characters Southern

The North Carolina native had a reputation for playing characters from The South.

As one of the most famous television stars of our time, Andy Griffith has had the pleasure of living in a multitude of places, including California and New York. However, as a North Carolina native, Griffith knew that there were few finer places to grow up in than the South.

Griffith’s Southern roots had a lasting effect on his work, with his childhood and young adult memories influencing his depiction of the fictional town of Mayberry in The Andy Griffith Show. Griffith stated in a 1996 interview with The Atlanta Constitution that “All these characters were friends of mine, both on the screen and off the screen. Everything was so grand.”

However, Griffith also revealed that as an actor, he deliberately chose future roles because the character, like himself, was Southern. Obviously, there were other factors that went into Griffith’s decision to accept a new role, but he was clear on his preference: The character had to be Southern. Griffith’s explanation for this decision was fairly straightforward. He said, “I am a Southerner. I am a known commodity.”

This wasn’t necessarily a hard and fast rule for Griffith, and it wasn’t something that he was conscious of his entire acting career. In fact, in an interview with the Spokane Chronicle, Griffith recalled one of his previous non-Southern roles in Street Killings, where his character was from New York. Griffith said, “The only way I could survive in my own community was to become a character actor-and not necessarily a Southerner. I can be, but I don’t have to be.”

While Griffith had the range to play a character from any and all walks of life, it was clear that as he grew older and was allowed more power and say in the projects he chose, he was able to act upon what he wanted and felt was best for him.

Griffith’s attachment to the South was evident, even after years away. He said, “I’ve lived in New York. I’ve lived in California. I prefer the South. I prefer here, as a matter of fact, to anywhere.”

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7 Comments

JHP 5 months ago
"one more thing" - BARN and Ope hardly had that twang
JHP 5 months ago
my 3 cents opinion - the early shows Ang had such a heavy southern accent (as corny as Iowa) - then as time went on it faded
Runeshaper 5 months ago
It’s good to know what one likes and what one wants 👍
mtumbo 5 months ago
there was one black guest star towards the end of the series
JHP mtumbo 5 months ago
yeah he played some football coach

also as a bit actor there was a black female you'd see in scenes outside on the streets
Andybandit 5 months ago
Good for him for liking the characters to be southern. It would be nice if a black guy or women would be on TAGS, or any show back then. I feel bad for them.
cperrynaples Andybandit 5 months ago
Well, I can guess how welcome a black person would be in Mayberry! Let's just say somebody had a noose ready to go...LOL!
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