Memphis played role in Andy Griffith's rise to stardom

"Face in the Crowd" was partly filmed in Memphis
"Face in the Crowd" was partly filmed in Memphis

(WMC-TV) – The city of Memphis played a small part in Andy Griffith's rise to stardom.

For millions of television viewers, Andy Griffith was the American south personified.

For eight seasons, he played the laid back sheriff of the fictional North Carolina town of Mayberry. The TV show's combination of homespun humor and wholesome storytelling creating a rating's hit.

"We were a small town. We were a feeling. We were of a time gone that we'd like to hold on to a little while," Andy Griffith said of the show.

The drama "Matlock" cast Griffith as a folksy Atlanta defense attorney.

"Country people will sometimes fool you. There are an awful lot of bright people in the south," he said.

His first career success came in 1958 with a hit record entitled "What it was, was Football". This led Griffith to acting.

"No Time For Sergeants" was a hit for Griffith on broadway, TV, and film.

Critical acclaim came in the 1957 drama "A Face In The Crowd". Griffith played an overnight Arkansas singing sensation turned Memphis television host.

His career also earned him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005.

But for most of us, Andy Griffith will always be remembered as the sheriff of Mayberry and Opie's pa, which is why the Action News 5 newsroom chose to honor him when word of his passing came through.

During the morning news meeting, the Action News 5 team took a moment to honor the late Andy Griffith, the man we will all remember as an icon of the south.

Copyright 2012 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.