Born Jesse Donald Knotts, July 21, 1924, in Morgan-town, WV; died of lung cancer, February 24, 2006, in Los Angeles, CA. Actor. During a half-century acting career, Don Knotts appeared on 7 television collection and in more than 25 films, earning screen immortality for his role as the blunderheaded smalltown deputy Barney Fife on the 1960s tv hit The Andy Griffith show . The duty showcased Knotts' zany expressions, high-pitched voice, and impeccable slapstick timing, earning him legions of adoring fans and also five Emmys for ideal supporting actor. "Don was an actor that played comedy as opposed come a comedian that does stand-up," Knotts' longtime manager, Sherwin Bash, told the Washington post quickly after his death. "He was among a kind."
Born in 1924 in Morgantown, West Virginia, Knotts thrived up poor alongside 3 older brothers. Together a child, he was unhappy and also self-conscious about his lean-limbed appearance. He had a brother who was for this reason thin family members members referred to as him "Shadow." Knotts took an early interest in acting, due in part to his mother's fascination through the brand-new "talking" movies of the so late 1920s, i m sorry she took Knotts come see. Knotts began performing in his teens, occurring a ventriloquist routine alongside a dummy named Danny. The enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving as an entertainer in the Pacific in the at an early stage 1940s and also earning a world War II victory Medal prior to his discharge.
Next, Knotts studied speech at West Virginia University. After ~ graduating in 1948, Knotts put $100 in his pocket and also bummed a drive to brand-new York hope to act. He auditioned because that radio gigs and spent the at an early stage 1950s playing a know-it-all geezer handyman top top the children's radio west Bobby Benson and also the B-Bar-B Riders . Knotts likewise landed tv roles and appeared on search for tomorrow indigenous 1953 to 1955. Top top this CBS soap, Knotts played a maladjusted young man so turbulent he refuse to interact with anyone however his sister. This was Knotts' first—and only—non-comedic function of his career.
Knotts created a buzz in 1955 playing a fussy armed forces evaluator top top Broadway in the Ira Levin comedy No Time because that Sergeants . One of the recruits Knotts' personality evaluated in the play to be a hillbilly draftee played by a little-known actor called Andy Griffith. From 1956 to 1960, Knotts appeared regularly on NBC's The Steve Allen present together a character named Mr. Morrison, the "nervous man." The routine typically featured Morrison gift interviewed "live" on the street. Knotts' personality was clearly nervous and agitated around the situation. At any time Allen asked the if he to be nervous, his eyes would certainly pop out, however he would answer v a quivery "nope" that set the crowd howling. The routine made him famous.
Knotts and also Griffith teamed increase again because that the 1958 function film variation of No Time because that Sergeants . The pair maintained in touch and when Griffith signed on to play rural sheriff Andy Taylor top top The Andy Griffith show , Knotts tagged along and became his bumbling sidekick and also deputy, Barney Fife. The role was not had in the series pilot, collection in the fictional town of Mayberry, north Carolina. When Knotts joined the show, that was supposed to blend in as part of Griffith's entourage. Quickly after the CBS comedy debuted in 1960, however, Knotts's bumbling manic energy stole the show. Writers reworked Griffith's role, turning him into the calm, straightlaced Sheriff Taylor who invested his time rescuing Deputy Fife native the mishaps of his own making.
utilizing sight gags, authors capitalized ~ above Knotts' mastery of physics comedy, creating a present that continued to be in the optimal 10 every year throughout its eight-year run. Fife was an invariable misfit who brought in his bag the one bullet Sheriff Taylor allotted him after he accidently shot self in the foot. Whenever Fife do the efforts to load the bullet, that fumbled the task. Often, that accidently locked self in a jail cell. Though the show originally aired an ext than 45 years ago, it has delighted in a loyal complying with on the cable network TV Land. Over there are also numerous websites devoted to the show, consisting of BarneyFife. Com, i m sorry discusses "Barneyisms" and addresses the moral lessons taught by the character. Follow to the Los Angeles times , throughout a 2000 interview, Knotts discussed how he developed the beloved character: "Mainly, I thought of Barney as a kid. Girlfriend can constantly look right into the encounters of kids and see what they're thinking, if they're happy or sad. That's what i tried to carry out with Barney. It's very identifiable."
Knotts left the display in 1965 to work on the huge screen and also became a reputable comedy draw of the 1960s, certification in a variety of G-rated family members films. He starred in 1964's half-cartoon, fifty percent live-action attribute The significant Mr. Limpet , which speak the story the a timid salesman who, rejected by the Navy, turns right into a fish. Other films had 1966's The Ghost and Mr. Chicken , 1967's The reluctant Astronaut , 1968's The Shakiest gun in the West , and also 1969's The Love God? . By the at an early stage 1970s, Knotts found a location starring in Disney's live-action features. He play a hopeless Old West bandit, alongside Tim Conway, in 1975's The apple Dumpling gang . He also starred together a wannabe safe-cracker in 1976's No Deposit, No Return , and also as a football coach in Gus , which speak the story the a field-goal-kicking mule. Knotts also played auto-racing veteran Wheely Applegate in 1977's Herbie Goes come Monte Carlo .
Knotts returned to television in 1979, playing the leisure-suit-loving landlord Ralph Furley on the abc sitcom Three's company together the late man Ritter. He remained on until the collection ended in 1984. Knotts also made guest appearances through a recurring function on Griffith's courtroom drama Matlock , i m sorry ran from 1986 come 1995. Knotts do a cameo figure in the 1998 movie Pleasantville , playing a TV repairman who gives two teens a one-of-a-kind remote manage that transports them right into the innocent black-and-white civilization of 1950s tv sitcoms. He likewise lent his voice come the 2005 Disney movie Chicken small , playing mayor Turkey Lurkey.
over the course of his career, Knotts married numerous times. Roughly 1947, he married Kathryn Kay Metz and also had 2 children. They divorce in the 1960s. He later on married and divorced Loralee Czuchna. In 2002, the married actress Francey Yarborough. Knotts passed away of lung cancer ~ above February 24, 2006, in Los Angeles, California. He to be 81.
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Survivors encompass his wife, his daughter, Karen; and his son, Thomas.