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>8:03We Finally Know Why Andy Griffith Was Buried Just 4 Hours After He Died. Watch later. Share. Copy link. Info. Shopping. Tap to unmute.YouTube · Facts Verse · Jun 6, 20224 key moments in this videoMissing: 2015 | Must include: 2015
Actors Still Alive From The Cast Of The Andy Griffith Show
By Joe Capraro/Updated: July 28, 2022 10:37 am EST
Although today’s youngest generations are more likely familiar with “The Andy Griffith Show” from repeating airings on networks like TVLand, older audiences might remember that the series originally ran from 1960 to 1968 on CBS. Throughout its time on the network and for many decades after, the series proved a popular and enduring piece of American pop culture. In fact, according to Classic TV Hits, the show never fell below seventh place in its year-to-year Nielsen ratings and finished No. 1 in its last two seasons.
Griffith starred in the series as Andy Taylor, Sheriff of the fictional hamlet of Mayberry, North Carolina. In a 1965 interview with the New York Times, Griffith credited the show’s longevity to the positive vibes it put out. “I think it is because we — everyone on the show — have a real sense of community, of kindness toward one another,” he said. “The basic rule by which we live comes through on the program, kindness comes through.”
As would be expected of a show of that vintage, almost all of the actors who appeared in the series have moved on to that great green room in the sky, but many of the children and one notable adult are still with us. Among the departed are screen legends Andy Griffith, Don Knotts, Frances Bavier, Jim Nabors, and George Lindsey, but who is still alive from the cast of “The Andy Griffith Show?”
Elinor Donahue (Ellie Walker)
CBS, Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock
Elinor Donahue played Mayberry pharmacist Ellie Walker, Andy’s first of many love interests throughout the series. She appeared in 11 episodes in Season 1 before asking to be let out of her three-year contract. She later told Closer Weekly that moving from a teenage role in “Father Knows Best” directly to an adult one in “The Andy Griffith Show” was a bit disorienting. “I felt like a bird out of a nest,” she said. “I didn’t feel like I had all my feathers yet and I didn’t feel capable … I was just not a happy camper and there was no point in my trying to continue with it.”
In 2012, This Was Television writer Sabienna Bowman noted that Donahue’s progressive-minded character may have also been a poor fit for the fictional idyllic town. “She was a constant reminder of the turbulent changing world beyond Mayberry, which contradicted The Andy Griffith Show’s mission statement to provide viewers with an escape from the messy political and social climate of the time,” she wrote.
Notably, Donahue said Andy Griffith himself later confessed partial fault for her quick exit from the show. “He said they just didn’t know how to write for me,” Donahue said. “That could have been part of it. I didn’t think there was any real chemistry there.” She would later go on to appear in such legendary TV series as “The Odd Couple,” “Fantasy Island,” and “The Love Boat,” and even guest starred on one episode in the final season of “Happy Days,” although it was after Ron Howard had left the show.
Ron Howard (Opie Taylor)
CBS, Andrea Raffin/Shutterstock
Without a doubt, the brightest and most recognizable remaining star of “The Andy Griffith Show” is Ron Howard, who played Andy’s son Opie. Howard was born into an acting family in Duncan, Oklahoma in 1954 and made his film debut at just 18 months old in “Frontier Woman.” American TV audiences learned life lessons through Opie’s eyes as he grew from a freckle-faced lad of six into a teenager; he was a month past his 14th birthday when the series finale aired.
Howard would go on to star as Steve in 1973’s “American Graffiti.” Of course, he’s also well known for his role as earnest Milwaukeean Richie Cunningham in “Happy Days,” a series in which he starred from 1974 to 1984. In the decades since, Howard has most prominently left his mark on Hollywood as a director and producer. The 33 films he has directed have grossed more than $2 billion domestically, placing him among the highest-grossing directors of all time.
Howard’s work behind the camera spans a multitude of genres: comedy (“Splash,” “Arrested Development”), action (“Backdraft,” “Rush”), drama (“Parenthood,” “Far and Away”), science fiction (“Cocoon,” “Solo: A Star Wars Story”), and docudrama (“Apollo 13,” “Frost/Nixon”). “A Beautiful Mind” earned him Oscars for Best Director and Best Picture in 2001, and he also has two Emmys on his mantle: 2003’s Best Comedy Series award for “Arrested Development” and 1998’s “Outstanding Miniseries” trophy for “From the Earth to the Moon.”
He remains busy at age 68, with 21 ongoing projects as a producer or director. In 2020, Howard told The Guardian that growing up in an acting family “does create a kind of bubble. So I look for projects that lead me to life experiences I wouldn’t have otherwise had – and on my own, I’m an introverted, risk-averse individual. But, when there’s a story to be told, it gets me out of the house, talking to people, learning things.”
Clint Howard (Leon)
CBS & Featureflash Photo Agency/Shutterstock
Ron Howard’s brother Clint was just 2 years old when he made his first appearance on “The Andy Griffith Show” as Boy at Church Social in Season 2, Episode 17 (“The Jinx”). His blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance didn’t win him any Emmys, but he did earn a character name, Leon, for his next four appearances on the show. In each brief scene, the youngster offers no lines and simply appears covered in peanut butter and jelly from a sandwich he clutches in his grubby little fingers.
Clint Howard got his first major role at 4 years old in the short-lived 1964 sitcom “The Baileys of Balboa” and his first-star turn as Mark Wedloe in 1967’s “Gentle Ben.” He went on to enjoy a long and steady career as a character actor, racking up a staggering 253 acting credits. He has appeared in such iconic franchises as Star Wars (“Solo: A Star Wars Story”), Star Trek (4 different shows), and Austin Powers (all three films).
Unsurprisingly, the Howard brothers have worked together on several film and television projects — including two episodes of “Happy Days” — and even teamed up for a memoir about their childhood called “The Boys.” In 2021, Clint told Entertainment Weekly that his supportive family was a big part of his success. In fact, he credited his and his brother’s careers to their parents’ “unique way of operating.”
Clint also sought to dispel any rumors of jealousy in the family, saying, “I’m so grateful to be their son, and I just have a tremendous amount of gratitude being Ron’s little brother. It’s such a beautiful cool place to be, to be Ron Howard’s brother … People think that there’s envy or there’s conflict, and there really isn’t.”
Richard Keith (Johnny Paul Jason)
Between Seasons 3 and 6 of “The Andy Griffith Show,” actor Richard Keith made 13 appearances as Johnny Paul Jason, a friend of Opie Taylor’s. In 2015, he told the Archive of American Television, “It doesn’t matter who you were or what you were on that show, you’re a part of Mayberry forever.”
Notably, Keith’s name may be familiar to you because “The Andy Griffith Show” isn’t the only classic sitcom he appeared on in his early years. His first acting role saw him play Little Ricky Ricardo, the son of Lucy (Lucille Ball) and Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz) in “I Love Lucy.” In fact, Keith was reportedly given his stage name by Arnaz himself, who thought his real name — Keith Thibodeaux — was too hard to pronounce. He later reprised his role in “The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour,” which ran for three years after “I Love Lucy” left the airwaves. As of 2022, Keith is the only living prominent cast member of “I Love Lucy.”
In the decades since the series ended, Keith has spoken glowingly of his experience working with Andy Griffith and his co-stars. “[They were] very much like their characters,” he said. “They were really nice to work with. [We] played checkers with the makeup man back there, played guitars, and sung songs … Ron and I played catch and ate hamburgers at the commissary together.”
Interestingly, Keith has just two acting credits as an adult, in the 1975 TV movie “A Shadow in the Streets” and the 2009 flop “C Me Dance,” which boasts a 0% Tomatometer reading and 21% audience score. After leaving the acting world, Keith played drums for David and the Giants, a secular-turned-Christian rock band. He now lives in Jackson, Mississippi with his wife Kathy and together they run Ballet Magnificat!, a touring Christian dance company that was featured heavily in “C Me Dance.”
Dennis Rush (Howie Pruitt)
CBS, Mt. Airy News
Dennis Rush played another of Opie’s friends, Howie Pruitt, in eight episodes from Seasons 3 through 5. His appearances on “The Andy Griffith Show” came near the end of an acting career that spanned 10 years and included stints on “Wagon Train” and guest roles on “Perry Mason,” “The Lucy Show,” and “My Favorite Martian.” Like Richard Keith, Rush has very fond memories of life on “The Andy Griffith Show” set.
“There was hard work to be done, but son of a gun, everyone just enjoyed their time there, enjoyed working with one another,” he told Andy Griffith’s hometown paper, the Mt. Airy News. “It was just a genuinely fun situation … Ron Howard and [Richard Keith], these were the two giants of kid acting and two of the nicest guys you could ever imagine.”
Rush’s acting career ended when he was just 14 years old, but he has no regrets about leaving Hollywood when he did. “There is a time you just say bye to the industry,” Rush said. “I graduated from high school, I was in the Marines three months later, that chapter of my life just ended so clean and so directly.” According to Rush’s LinkedIn, he recently retired after 36 years as the Director of Operations at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club in San Diego, California.
Sheldon Collins (Arnold Bailey)
Opie’s best friend on the series was Arnold Bailey (Sheldon Collins), who appeared in nine episodes. In four of those, he was credited under his given name — Sheldon Golomb — and he returned as Arnold for two episodes of the follow-up series “Mayberry R.F.D.” Collins was just 7 years old when he landed his first role on “Naked City” and added guest spots on legendary shows like “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “Star Trek,” and “I Dream of Jeannie” to his resumé before giving up acting in 1972 at the age of 17.
Similar to Dennis Rush, Collins found himself caught in the trap that snares many child actors as they move into adulthood. In an appearance at the Mayberry Squad Car Rendezvous in 1998, he said, “You go through this stage where you’re too old for kid parts but you’re not mature enough for adult parts … in college, I started getting into science and I really liked it.” That interest ultimately led the former child actor to a career in dentistry, a profession in which he continues to work to this day.
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Frequently Asked Questions About andy griffith cast still living 2015
If you have questions that need to be answered about the topic andy griffith cast still living 2015, then this section may help you solve it.
Who all still alive from The Andy Griffith Show?
The Only Actors Still Alive From The Cast Of The Andy Griffith…
- Elinor Donahue (Ellie Walker) CBS, Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock. …
- Ron Howard (Opie Taylor) CBS, Andrea Raffin/Shutterstock. …
- Clint Howard (Leon) …
- Richard Keith (Johnny Paul Jason) …
- Dennis Rush (Howie Pruitt) …
- Sheldon Collins (Arnold Bailey)
Is Helen Crump still alive?
Corsaut battled cancer in her later years, and sadly died of the disease on at the age of 62. She will be remembered as Helen Crump.
Is Barney Fife still alive?
He is widely known for his role as Deputy Sheriff Barney Fife on The Andy Griffith Show, a 1960s sitcom for which he earned five Emmy Awards….
|Died||(aged 81) Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
|Resting place||Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
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Did Opie’s mom ever appear on the show?
Knotts, already bound by his contract with Universal, left the show. They never mention what happened to Opie’s mother. Opie was said to be just “a speck of a boy” when she died. Her first name is never given, her picture is never shown in Andy’s house, nor anywhere else, and her grave is never shown.
Who was only black person on Andy Griffith?
Only one black actor ? Rockne Tarkington ? ever had a speaking role on ?The Andy Griffith Show.? The story went like this: Opie was starting piano lessons. Aunt Bee was into it, but Andy wasn’t too keen. Opie then met the cool new football coach who was a black ex-NFL player.
Who is the last survivor of Andy Griffith Show?
When Betty Lynn, who appeared as Thelma Lou in 26 episodes of ?The Andy Griffith Show? in the early 1960s, died at 95 this week, it left Ron Howard, who played red-haired little-boy Opie, as the only regular cast member still alive. (?Opie? is 67 now, which means that some of us are ?getting on up there.?)
Does Barney ever marry Thelma Lou?
Thelma Lou appears in the 1986 television reunion movie Return to Mayberry. Her marriage in 1965 is revealed to have lasted only a year before ending in divorce. Barney finally marries Thelma Lou.
Who was the oldest person on The Andy Griffith Show?
Thus, Burt Mustin made his screen debut at the age of 67 in 1951. He went to appear in dozens of television shows, from Our Miss Brooks to All in the Family.
What was Opie short for?
‘The Andy Griffith Show’ was the 60th most watched TV show. In 2016. According to Howard himself, who once explained the origin of the name to Jay Leno, Opie was named after bandleader and actor Opal ?Opie? Taft Cates, a popular clarinetist from swing-era Arkansas.
Who was the little girl that Opie had a crush on?
Little Opie has a crush on Thelma Lou.
Who did Barney Fife marry?
Barney’s main girlfriend is a local girl, Thelma Lou (Betty Lynn), whom he eventually marries in Return to Mayberry, a 1986 NBC movie. He had two other girlfriends: Miss Rosemary followed by Hilda May.
Does Andy Griffith ever marry Helen Crump?
In the first episode of The Andy Griffith Show spinoff, Mayberry R.F.D., Andy and Helen marry. Other characters from The Andy Griffith Show make guest appearances in the episode.
Who is the mother of Barney’s daughter?
And fans were desperate to find out her identity during the course of the show ? as soon as Barney’s status as a father was revealed, “31 is Robin” (“31” referring to his baby mama, the woman who slept with him on the 31st day of his “perfect” month) became a trending topic on Twitter.
How many girl did Barney sleep with?
A bully named Matthew Panning taunted the young Barney, saying he had been with “a hundred girls”, and Barney retorted that he would be with 200 women some day.