Tim Conway said Barney Fife was ''one of the greatest, funniest, and truest personalities ever seen on the screen''

The movie pair held each other in high regard.

If there was a Mount Rushmore for the funniest performers in television history, it wouldn't be complete without Tim Conway. The actor was hilarious in every show he appeared on. Many recognize him for his role as the always-silly Ensign Parker on McHale's Navy, who contrasted with Ernest Borgnine's voice-of-reason character, Quinton McHale. He stole the show every time he was onscreen, a feat he repeated on The Carol Burnett Show. Again, he was paired with a perfectly-tuned partner in Harvey Korman. Conway was funny on his own, but when he had another expert performer to work with, he was an absolute legend. 

That axiom held true for movies, as well. Throughout the late '70s, Conway was grouped with Don Knotts in a series of comedy films which proved, once again, that he was best when part of a team. The Apple Dumpling Gang, Gus, The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again, The Prize Fighter, and Private Eyes were instant classics, introducing the duo to an entirely new audience. Even when Conway and Knotts weren't sharing the screen (as in Gus) their performances were better for the friendly competition on set.

Conway, of course, wasn't only familiar with Knotts from the movies they made together. In fact, in his memoir, What's So Funny? My Hilarious Life, Conway writes about how his awareness of Don Knotts predated even The Andy Griffith Show.

"I'd watched Don do his 'Man in the Street' interviews on The Steve Allen Show, and he had me doubled over with laughter."

"Don would come out as this quivering bundle of nerves, his head jerking, his hands trembling, and Steve would stop him and ask him questions. He'd ask his name, and then say 'What's your occupation?' His voice shaky, Don would answer, 'I'm a ne-ne-neurosurgeon,' or 'I make d-d-d-dynamite.' It wasn't just the material, it was the way he portrayed these people. You'd be laughing before he said a word. And it was all so gentle."

Years after collaborating with Knotts, Conway wrote glowingly in his 2014 book about his former costar. The on-camera chemistry the two shared couldn't be faked. Their mutual admiration stretched beyond the screen, and Conway wrote about how he was fond of Knotts, not only as a performer but also as a person.

"There wasn't a phony motion in Don... and what characters he created! I think Barney Fife is one of the greatest, funniest, and truest personalities ever seen on the screen. When you watched his antics as Andy Griffith's deputy, you were watching Don Knotts. He was Barney Fife, a kind, gentle, fun-loving person who dedicated his life to making people smile."

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CortneyNicole 4 months ago
Tim Conway and Don Knotts are ture icon comedy Legends.
John 4 months ago
Loved Conway, couldn't stand Knott's!
Mitch8901 4 months ago
You forgot to add to their comedy duo resume: the film, Cannonball Run II. I think that was their last film together.
ecarfar 4 months ago
The Barney fife character along with Eddie Haskell are the two best characters in TV history.
LalaLucy 4 months ago
Love both these guys and enjoy knowing the love and respect that extended off-screen. They were the genuine article.
FrankensteinLover 4 months ago
Absolutely a blessing to witness these two, most of today's comedic actors aren't even funny. Don & Tim were originally funny and they both have brought me so much laughter.
Irish 4 months ago
Both of these men were hilarious comedians and complimented each other in their acting together. Tim, whose clips I still watch, had me laughing until I thought I would wet myself! The first time I was introduced to Don was on The Steve Allen show in Man On The Street. Absolutely side-splitting! I miss them both very much. RIP guys. ❤️
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