Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Remembering Andy Griffith

  • Ms. RICHARDSON. Mr. Speaker, today I rise to honor the memory of one of the most beloved television personalities of all time, Andy Griffith. For over five decades he entertained us with the wholesome and charismatic energy he was known for. Mr. Griffith's career is the very definition of legendary, and he will be sorely missed.
  • Mr. Griffith came from humble beginnings. Born in Mount Airy, North Carolina, in 1926, he started out his entertainment career in minor comedic roles and obtained notoriety with his hit monologue ``What it Was, Was Football''. He went on to star in his first dramatic role in the movie ``A Face in the Crowd''. The character he played was a country boy who manipulated his way to political power. The movie taught all of us the lesson that power corrupts, and corrupts absolutely.
  • Although this was his only real big screen success, Mr. Griffith's television roles are what we will remember him for. ``The Andy Griffith Show'' was an instant success. Mr. Griffith starred as the lovable Sheriff Andy Taylor, and while he never received a writing credit, he was also involved in the development of every script. Overlooked year after year for an Emmy Award, Mr. Griffith congratulated his
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    costars and crew with graciousness and humility.
  • It was not until 1987 that Mr. Griffith was recognized with a People's Choice Award for his work on the television show ``Matlock''. He was able to show his diversity as the righteous lawyer Ben Matlock, best known for always coming out on top. Most impressively, Mr. Griffith showed the strength of his character by overcoming leg paralysis from Guillain-Barre Syndrome right before taking part in the show.
  • Throughout the rest of his career Mr. Griffith never stopped surprising his audience. He released many different albums, and his 1996 release ``I Love to Tell the Story: 25 Timeless Hymns'' went platinum.
  • In 2005 he was honored by President George W. Bush with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Mr. Griffith truly personified grace and decency, his memorable performances brought millions of Americans joy while demonstrating the finest qualities of our country. Even today, that trademark whistle still makes us think of a sense of neighborliness and small town charm of years past.
  • Andy Griffith was a true jack-of-all-trades, who demonstrated talents both on screen and off. He started his own production company, completed an award-winning gospel music album, and later became involved in political activism. Yet audiences could be sure that Mr. Griffith would bring the same infectious energy and charisma to each endeavor.
  • Mr. Speaker, I would like to extend my deepest condolences to Andy Griffith's family and loved ones. I hope they can find some comfort in knowing the incredible legacy he leaves behind in hearts across the nation.

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