Andy Griffith dead at 86

Photo courtesy of, his personal fan site

Andy Griffith has been confirmed dead at 86, according to Dare County Sheriff Doug Doughtie.

Doughtie says in statement Griffith died Tuesday at about 7 a.m. He says the family will release further information.

Close family friend, Bill Friday, former UNC president, first made a statement this morning that Griffith had passed away.

His starring role as a small-town sheriff drew upon his own upbringing in Mount Airy, N.C. The show also starred Don Knotts and was one of the top hits of the 1960s and a perennial in reruns.

Griffith later played a shrewd Southern lawyer in another successful series, "Matlock."

Before taking on television, he won wide praise in the 1950s in the Broadway comedy "No Time for Sergeants" and the dramatic film, "A Face in the Crowd."

Our sister station WWMB still carries "The Andy Griffith" show on Sunday afternoons and it remains one of the most popular programs on that station.

WWMB will have an Andy Griffith show Marathon starting at 2 p.m. till 8 p.m. Sunday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report