According to Andy Griffith, he was not like Andy Taylor

"Don't pay any attention to that, that is a persona," said Griffith.

For an entire generation of television viewers, Sheriff Andy Taylor was the ultimate father figure. He was honest, straightforward, and good. Even in his position of power, Andy Taylor acted with kindness. He treated everyone with respect, whether they were the mayor or a criminal. 

Andy Taylor is venerated as the image of upright authority. Many viewers who came from unstable families could look to Taylor as their own perfect father figure. But, while he portrayed a nearly faultless man on television, Andy Griffith was quick to point out the differences between himself and his character.

For portraying the Sheriff of Mayberry, Andy Griffith was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George W. Bush in 2005. In that same year, Griffith spoke with Beverly Keel from the online magazine American Profile. In the interview, Griffith spoke about living in the shadow of Sheriff Andy Taylor.

"Don't pay any attention to that, that is a persona," said Griffith.

 "I am not any favorite dad; I am not any kind of all-American person. I am just a 79-year-old person.

"I have many failings. My son died of an overdose when he was 36. I was not a good father to him. So I have failed in many ways. I am a man, like any other man."

There's no such thing as a perfect father, and by distancing himself from his onscreen counterpart, Griffith allowed us to understand him as a human. In doing so we, too, can see who we are and who we'd like to be. The first step towards progress is taking inventory. 

Nobody could be Sheriff Andy Taylor. He's a work of fiction. But by pointing this out, Andy Griffith at least gave us something to strive towards. Mayberry doesn't exist, but we can still work hard to treat one another with the respect that Sheriff Taylor taught us. 

Watch The Andy Griffith Show on MeTV!

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7 Comments

ruswilinc 1 month ago
Okay, so like almost every actor out there, they are not like the characters they portray. The character gave us something to shoot for! Watching him, made many of us better people than we would have been had the example not been there. We will never know how many people were guided by the principles they saw a model on that show. I don't think that's a bad thing.
Runeshaper 1 month ago
Treating each other with respect is crucial, and Andy taught us that 🙂
Zip 1 month ago
At least he didn't say he was more like Lonesome Rhodes(ah!) from A Face In The Crowd.
Andy could play a real scary individual.
Andybandit 1 month ago
He was a good actor, in the different shows he was in.
McGillahooala 1 month ago
Regardless of his faults, he brought us a lot of joy.
FrankensteinLover 1 month ago
Love the honesty, this was a great article.
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