You probably don't remember Andy Griffith as Sheriff Andy Taylor from The Andy Griffith Show (1960-1968), but you probably do realize that Griffith made crime-fighting cool for the geriatric set in Matlock (1986-1995). (Grandma loved that show).

Griffith's family announced that the actor died today and has already been laid to rest “on his beloved Roanoke Island.” He was 86.

Family member said in a statement made through The Andy Griffith Museum in Mount Airy, N.C., that …

… Andy Griffith passed away, after an illness, during the early morning on July 3 at his home in Manteo, N.C., with his wife Cindi at his side.

Credit: The Andy Griffith Museum / Facebook

Credit: The Andy Griffith Museum / Facebook

Dare County, North Carolina, Sheriff J.D. “Doug” Doughtie told reporters his death was reported about 7 a.m. on Roanoke Island.

Condolences flooded in on the museum's Facebook page today.

As Sheriff Andy Taylor the actor played a morally centered father figure whose modesty seemed unparalleled in Hollywood. Only the likes of Ronald Reagan could come off as wholesome.

In Matlock Griffith was a seersucker-suit-wearing fighter for justice, a MacGruber of the courtroom whose metaphoric paperclip was rhetorical ability. He emerged as a hero for the AARP set.

That sense of morality Griffith exuded wasn't Hollywood magic, his family says. Wife Cindi, in a statement today:

Andy was a person of incredibly strong Christian faith and was prepared for the day he would be called Home to his Lord. He is the love of my life, my constant companion, my partner, and my best friend. I cannot imagine life without Andy, but I take comfort and strength in God's Grace and in the knowledge that Andy is at peace and with God.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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