Andy Samuel Griffith (June 1, 1926 – July 3, 2012) was an American actor, comedian, television producer, Southern gospel singer, and writer. He was a Tony Award nominee for two roles, and gained prominence in the starring role in director Elia Kazan's film A Face in the Crowd (1957) before he became better known for his television roles, playing the lead roles of Andy Taylor in the sitcom The Andy Griffith Show (1960–1968) and Ben Matlock in the legal drama Matlock (1986–1995).
Griffith died on July 3, 2012, from a heart attack at age 86 at his coastal home in Manteo, Roanoke Island, in Dare County, North Carolina. He was buried in the Griffith family cemetery on the island within five hours of his death.
Longtime friend Nancy Stafford had called him on her mentor's 86th and final birthday, just one month before his death. In a statement, she said: "He sounded strong at the time, and so upbeat and completely sharp as a tack, as always," said Stafford, "I was shocked to find out barely a month later that he was gone."