‘The Andy Griffith Show’: Griffith Explained Why Marrying His Third Wife Cindi Was ‘Best Move’ He Ever Made

It didn’t take much prompting of “The Andy Griffith Show” star Andy Griffith to start talking proudly about his third wife, Cindi.

Cindi Griffith was the third wife of “The Andy Griffith Show” star. Andy Griffith died on July 3, 2012, at 86 years old in Manteo, N.C with her by his side.

“Cindi, she’s the love of my life and I depend on her greatly as you’ve been able to tell through this interview,” Griffith said in a 1998 interview for the Archive of American Television. “We’ve been married 15 years [as of 1998] and known her for about 20 years. It’s the best move I ever made in my life.”

‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Star Met Future Wife At Volleyball Game

They first met when the then-Cindi Knight was in a play in 1978 called “The Lost Colony.” She was part of the cast and they were putting on the play in Manteo. One day, she met Griffith at a volleyball game hosted by her castmates. Eventually, both of them became good friends. Knight went out to Los Angeles in 1980 to become an actress. Griffith did act as an adviser to Knight during that time.

Griffith, who played Sheriff Andy Taylor on “The Andy Griffith Show” for eight seasons, married Knight in 1983. She remained with him until his death.

In an Associated Press interview, Griffith said of Cindi, “This woman has brought me more joy than I’ve ever known.”

There was a 29-year age difference between them, but that apparently didn’t matter to Andy or Cindi.

Classic TV Stars Learned That Switching Positions Helped Show Succeed

Now when it came to “The Andy Griffith Show,” there was no better example of solid timing than between Griffith and his costar, Don Knotts.

How did that come about? Griffith, Knotts, and Ron Howard [Opie Taylor] discussed it in 2003 in a special called “Return to Mayberry.”

“Originally, I was supposed to be funny,” Griffith said. “By the second [season], I knew that he [pointing at Knotts] should be funny and I should play straight to him.”

Knotts said, “But we seemed to fall right in together with the timing. We seemed to like each other’s timing. It just happened.”

Knotts played Deputy Barney Fife for five seasons before he left to make movies. He signed a contract with Universal Pictures but often returned as Fife in a guest-starring role. Howard stayed throughout the entire eight-season run on the show. He later found more fame as Richie Cunningham on “Happy Days” and has become one of Hollywood’s finest directors.

Knotts died on Feb. 24, 2006, at 81 years old in Los Angeles. Griffith, who rarely traveled away from his Manteo home at this time, reportedly flew out to see Knotts one last time before Knotts’ death.

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