The Andy Griffith Show's Andy Griffith passed away Tuesday morning at 86 years of age, WITN.com reports. Former UNC President Bill Friday, a friend to the late actor/comedian, confirms that Griffith died in his home in Dare County, N.C. at around 7:00 AM EST. The actor had survived several ailments in the past: In 1983, he was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré Syndrome, which weakens the nervous system, and underwent quadruple heart-bypass surgery in 2000.
Griffith will always be remembered as a man with many talents — and a banjo to boot. Raised in a poor, blue-collar family, the actor first explored a career in the clergy until music directed him towards show business. A trombone player since his youth, Griffith also took up singing while attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It wasn't long until he discovered he could use his voice to fuel a career in entertainment.
Radio listeners first heard Griffith's patented Southern lilt in the early 1950s, when the actor took to the medium to release monologues like 1954's charting What It Was, Was Football. Griffith parlayed that notoriety into an acting career, appearing on Broadway in plays like Destry Rides Again and on television in series like The United States Steel Hour. It wasn't long until he jumpstarted a career on the big screen, starring in 1957's A Face in the Crowd. Despite Crowd's success — and continuing popularity amongst film buffs — Griffith found he was more at home on the small screen. After appearing in a few bit roles, Griffith landed one that would later be his legacy. From 1960 to 1968, the actor starred in The Andy Griffith Show, a series whose down-home, Mayberry appeal hit home with audiences of all ages. It was on The Andy Griffith Show that the actor cemented his image as a wise Southern charmer — traits he would revisit in future characters. Despite The Andy Griffith Show's popularity — and the fact that it allowed him to flex his musical muscles and release a gospel album connected with the series — the actor itched for his name to return to marquee lights and decided to leave the series in 1968. Not that he abandoned the show that shot him to superstardom completely — Griffith served as executive producer on the series, whose name was tweaked to Mayberry R.F.D. to reflect Griffith's absence. Unfortunately, Griffith's big screen presence paled in comparison to his TV prowess, with roles in forgettable films like 1969's Angel in My Pocket and 1975's Hearts of the West. In fact, between The Andy Griffith Show and his next starring vehicle, Matlock, Griffith maintained a career starring in TV movies, a hybrid of the medium in which he was most successful, and the medium in which he hoped to find success. And that's where Griffith nabbed the most recognition — the actor's only Emmy nomination was rewarded for his work in 1981's Murder in Texas. Griffith also picked up decidedly un-Andy Griffith Show-like roles in several TV movies, playing hard-edged characters (1985's Crime of Innocence) and even a murderer (1983's Murder in Coweta County). But it was in 1986 that Griffith surged back into primetime popularity with the legal drama Matlock, playing a Southern attorney whose accent and banjo-playing, grandpa charm appealed to his more nostalgic fans. His position back on television even jolted his movie career, nabbing him a comedic role in 1996's Spy Hard. Most recently, Griffith boasted roles in 2007's indie breakout Waitress and 2009's Play the Game, which also starred Andy Griffith alum Clint Howard. (Until his death, Griffith also maintained a close relationship with Griffith co-star Ron Howard.) And though Griffith failed to garner acclaim from the Academy of Arts & Sciences for his work in The Andy Griffith Show and Matlock — and despite his longtime status as a diehard Democrat — President George W. Bush awarded him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Still, Griffith will be most remembered for that comfortable Andy Griffith Southern appeal that kept fans coming back week in and week out with a smile and a whistle. [Photo Credit: AP Images] More: Andy Griffith: Remembering 'Matlock,' Andy Taylor, and More Roger Ebert, Ron Howard and More Remember Andy Griffith on Twitter A Spy Movie for Every Type of Person
The God of Legion secular Hollywood’s latest Biblically-inspired action flick is old-school an angry spiteful Almighty with a penchant for Old Testament theatrics. Fed up with humanity’s decadent warmongering ways He’s decided to pull the plug on the whole crazy experiment and start over from scratch.
Fortunately for us the God of Legion is also a rather lazy fellow. Instead of doing the apocalyptic work himself and wiping us out with a giant flood which worked perfectly well last time He opts to delegate the task to His army of angels — a questionable strategy that starts to fall apart when the archangel charged with leading the planned extermination Michael (Paul Bettany) refuses to comply.
Michael who unlike his boss still harbors affection for our sorry species abandons his post and descends to earth where inside the swollen belly of Charlie (Adrianne Palicki) an unwed mother-to-be working as a waitress in an out-of-the-way diner sits humanity’s lone hope for survival. Why is this particular baby so important? Is it the one destined to lead us to victory over Skynet? Heaven knows — Legion reveals little details its script devoid of actual scripture. What is clear is that God’s celestial hitmen want the kid whacked before it’s born.
But Michael won’t let humanity fall without a fight. Armed with a Waco-sized arsenal of assault weapons he hunkers down with the diner’s patrons a largely superfluous collection of thinly-sketched caricatures from various demographic groups led by Dennis Quaid as the diner’s grizzled owner Tyrese Gibson as a hip-hop hustler and Lucas Black as a simple-minded country boy.
Together they mount a heroic final stand against hordes of angels who’ve taken possession of “weak-willed” humans turning kindly old grandmas and mild-mannered ice cream vendors into snarling ravenous foul-mouthed beasts. They descend upon the ramshackle diner in a series of full-frontal assaults commanded by the archangel Gabriel (Kevin Durand) the George Pickett of End of Days generals.
Beneath its superficial religious facade Legion is really just a run-of-the-mill zombie flick a Biblical I Am Legend. Bettany an actor accustomed to smaller dramatic roles in films like A Beautiful Mind and The Da Vinci Code looks perfectly at ease in his first major action role wielding machine guns and bowie knives with equal aplomb. Conversely first-time director Scott Stewart a former visual effects artist does little to prove himself worthy of such a promotion serving up some impressive CGI work but not much else worthy of note.