Andy Griffith once said that Andy Taylor was the best parts of him
Andy Taylor was made of good stuff.
Sometimes characters are great not because they're perfect, but because they're imperfectly human. This means that as an audience, we can see ourselves in them, and sometimes, the actors playing them can find the same humanity in themselves too.
Andy Griffith had maintained that he was in no way identical to his character Andy Taylor on The Andy Griffith Show. However, that certainly didn't stop fans from believing that the two were one and the same. In an interview with the Times Colonist, Craig Fincannon, a friend of Griffith and owner of a casting agency, spoke about his friend. Fincannon said that the role of Taylor "put heavy pressure on him [Griffith] because everyone felt like he was their best friend." Still, Fincannon said that his friend was able to take it in stride. He said, "With great grace, he handled the constant barrage of people wanting to talk to Andy Taylor."
To the Associated Press, Andy has clarified that he was "not as nice" or as smart as Andy Taylor. However, he conceded that "I guess you could say I created Andy Taylor. Andy Taylor's the best part of my mind. The best part of me."
Still, it can be easy to look at someone and see how you knew them rather than who they are today. Even the great Andy Griffith was guilty of this. In the same Associated Press interview, he recalled meeting with his on-screen son and off-screen friend, Ron Howard, and that still, it was difficult to view Howard as an adult. He said, "I called him 'Ronny' for eight years, it's hard to call him Ron." However, Griffith was able to reminisce with Howard and acknowledged the meaning behind the show that led many a fan to call him "Mr. Taylor." Griffith recalled, "[I met Howard] out in Franklin Canyon in Hollywood Hills, where we did the original walk with the whistle [theme]. He and I did the walk again, and he threw another rock."
Griffith continued, "And we sat there that whole morning and talked about the show and what it had meant to us, and what THAT moment meant to us. And it was wonderful."