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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
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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.
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