Andy Griffith: A timeline of the actor's career

Andy Griffith posing in Los Angeles to promote his upcoming CBS-TV film, "Murder in Coweta County" in this Jan. 31, 1983, file photo.
AP Photo/Wally Fong

(CBS/AP) Actor Andy Griffith, who died Tuesday morning at the age of 86, was known by most for his portrayal of a homespun sheriff  in the 1960s TV hit "The Andy Griffith Show," but Griffith achieved a lot during his lifetime in show business, including winning a Grammy.

Pictures: Andy Griffith: 1926-2012
Read More: Andy Griffith dead at 86
Pictures: Andy Griffith remembered
Read More: Andy Griffith remembered by Ron Howard

Griffith was born in Mount Airy, N.C., and 28 years later got his first television exposure on "The Ed Sullivan Show." Below, is a look back at the actor's life.


  • Griffith gets his first television exposure on "The Ed Sullivan Show."


  • Griffith plays Larry "Lonesome" Rhodes, a local jailbird and amateur singer who becomes a homespun philosopher on national television in the movie "A Face in the Crowd." He receives critical acclaim in The New York Times and The Washington Post.


  • "The Andy Griffith Show" goes on the air and runs until 1968. Griffith plays a wise small-town sheriff. The show is set in the fictional town of Mayberry, N.C., loosely based on his hometown.


  • Griffith's television career continues as he plays the lead role as a shrewd Southern defense lawyer in "Matlock." The series lasts until 1995.


  • Griffith is inducted into the Academy of Television Arts Hall of Fame.


  • Griffith wins a Grammy Award for his gospel music album, "I Love to Tell the Story _ 25 Timeless Hymns."


  • Griffith suffers a heart attack and has quadruple bypass surgery.


  • North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley names part of U.S. Hwy 52 the "Andy Griffith Parkway."


  • TV network erects a statue in Raleigh, N.C., showing "The Andy Griffith Show's" famous opening sequence that features Andy Griffith and a young Ron Howard walking hand in hand.


  • Griffith receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom, one of the country's highest civilian awards. The White House says: "The United States honors Andy Griffith for demonstrating the finest qualities of our country and for a lifetime of memorable performances that have brought joy to millions of Americans of all ages."


  • Griffith endorses President Barack Obama's health care law to seniors in a paid ad by


  • Griffith dies at his home in Manteo, N.C., at age 86.


Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Watch Now

New Android App

For your Android phone and tablet, download the FREE redesigned app, featuring CBSN, live 24/7 news.

The all new
CBS News App for Android® for iPad® for iPhone®
Fully redesigned. Featuring CBSN, 24/7 live news. Get the App