Andy Griffith was an American comedian who rose to fame as a film star from the 50s to the 2000s, a writer and southern gospel singer; the success of the sitcom The Andy Griffith Show led him to become the executive producer of its first spinoff Mayberry R.F.D., which ran from 1968 to 1971 and in very next year, founded his own production company, Andy Griffith Enterprises which became the production house of several other television shows and movies like Winter Kill of 1974. It is not unknown the famous actor passed away at the age of 86 at his home in North Carolina. Let us now discuss the important aspect of his life- Andy Griffith’s children.
Having had serious health issues of heart, hip and having been diagnosed with Guillain–Barré syndrome in 1983, Griffith finally deceased from heart failure in 2012. Given a man with such a successful career on screen, noted for his portrayal of Andy Taylor in “The Andy Griffith Show”, the laid-back but pragmatic sheriff of Mayberry who was much loved by the audience for his knack for hunting down lawbreakers and keeping peace within his county
though it is undeniable that it was the relationship between the sensible Andy and his carefree and curious 6-year-old son Opie that was heart-warming to watch, it was not strange that most of Griffith’s personal life was kept private. He was a father that every child loved to have, yet very little was known about Griffith behind the screen and his actual children. Hop in to know more about Andy Griffith’s children.
Marriage and Children
Married in the year 1949 to his first wife, Barbara Bray Edwards, whom he met and had fallen in love with while they were studying music at the University of North Carolina, they later found out that they couldn’t have children, so the couple decided to adopt. Soon they embraced two lovely children, one daughter, Dixie, and the other a son, Samuel, into their home. Both the infants were raised in an orphanage in North America before they were taken in by the Griffiths. This answers the question about Andy Griffith’s children.
His daughter, Dixie Griffith, in an interview with Fox News after her father’s demise, when asked if her father was anything like the famous Andy Taylor in the sitcom, said, “he was just my dad”, describing him as someone fun to be with and mutually loved spending time with and pointed out that her father would take on the kitchen duties during Sundays alongside his then-wife.
Early life with children
But not everything was fine within the Griffith family, being an actor comes with its problems. His daughter recalled Griffith having left for work by the time his children woke up in the mornings and only be back very late in the afternoons.
Perhaps it was Griffith’s own disco-ordinated life and the incomplete role of a father that he played in it, not to mention his divorce with Barbara when Dixie was merely 12 years old and married to the Greek actress Solica Casuto, that dissuaded her from ever wanting to pursue a career in entertainment. She also recalled her father being ‘fiercely protective’ of his family and their privacy. In this, she mentioned sharing her father’s bitterness for paparazzi who would hide in bushes outside their house, later on even constrained him from attending his late son’s funeral.
Andy Griffith’s children and their relationship
It is publicly known that, unlike his sister, Samuel, a year younger, did not have a functional relationship with his father. Griffith’s late son, Andy Samuel Griffith Jr., who was better known as Sam, a real-estate developer, suffered from alcoholism and drug abuse, and in 1996 passed away from cirrhosis of the liver, one of his several health problems and related complications, as reported by the American tabloid newspaper, National Enquirer.
The young Sam idolized his father that overflowed into his regular life, springing into despair and jealousy diverged into thinking that his father didn’t love him as much as his sitcom son “Opie” and so didn’t want him to portray the character, while his older sister was a part of the cast. Sam’s deviance grew with him, often getting in and out of trouble with the Law, including complaints of malevolence towards his two months pregnant wife, Reese Denise, leading to a miscarriage and other severe physical injuries. Later Sam admitted to his many crimes and received a verdict of unsupervised probation for three years in jail which was extended with his further indulgence into violence and abuse within the first sixty days.
Griffith was known to have stopped communicating with his son, unable to understand his radical behavior and finally giving up. But before his death, Sam had written a letter of repentance pleading his father to claim him back as his son, with Griffith previously having ‘emotionally disinherited’ him.
Sam’s body was found at his home in Universal City, California, with the letter resting upon him on his desk at the time, never sent. When the news of the loss of his son came, it hit Griffith hard, as said by Dixie in the interview, “It affected my dad on a very, very deep level”, but he couldn’t attend his only son’s funeral due to the media and cameras. It is believed that Griffith was disturbed and blamed himself for giving up on Sam, causing him to lose his life to addictions and made him feel like he wasn’t the father he wanted to be and couldn’t give his children what he didn’t have owing to the struggles of his parents with poverty in childhood. Griffith could never come to terms with the reasons for his son’s death and lived in denial until his death.
As of now, nothing much is known about the only living child of the Late Andy Samuel Griffith Sr. except that she often volunteers with her mother and Griffith’s ex-wife, Barbara Edwards, at the Denver Hospice. Stay tuned to know more about the latest updates and information.