An Inside Look into The Lift of Actor & TV Presenter Andy Griffith

Andy Griffith lived a fulfilled life and would still be remembered by many even in death. However, he had a son Andy Griffith Jr, who caused the death of his unborn child after beating his pregnant wife up terribly. Inside the life of Andy Jr. 

Andy Griffith was an American actor, TV presenter, writer, gospel singer, and comedian. His passion for being part of the entertainment industry developed at a very young age. Before his demise, Griffith made appearances in several movies and TV shows but was most famous for “The Andy Griffith Show.”

The 1960 comedy sitcom saw Andy Sr play the role of small-town Sheriff Andy Taylor. The legendary star acted with stars like Don’t Knotts, Frances Bavier, and Ron Howard, who still recalled their thoughts on their experience while filming the show decades after the series aired.

During a chat with Closer Weekly in 2018, Howard described his experience as warm and funny, just like the show. According to the actor, hard work and fun worked hand in hand.

Howard said Griffith and Knotts made being creative in front of the camera easy because they possessed admirable respect for each other’s talents.

For the cast of “The Andy Griffith Show,” it was all about collaboration, and they all held Andy Sr. in high regard till the end. Andy Sr. may have had an enviable and successful career in Hollywood, but the same could not be said about his personal life.

Before his death, he was happily married to Cindi Knight and was a doting father to two children, Andy Griffith Jr. and Dixie Griffith. A violent person and an addict, Andy Jr was considered the exact opposite of his star father.

In 1992, he was arrested and charged after beating his pregnant wife, Renee Denise, leading to a miscarriage. According to a Los Angeles police detective, Mike Coffey, Andy Jr turned himself in after committing the barbaric act.

He was accompanied to the police station by his lawyer, James E. Blatt. A complaint report filed by Denise revealed that the occurrence occurred on January 6, 1992.

Denise made it known that she and her real estate developer husband got into an argument, which quickly escalated into a fight. Andy Jr was alleged to have hit his wife, who was only two months pregnant at the time, in her face. After that, Denise claimed to have been kicked several times in her stomach.

Deputy district attorney Jeffrey S. Gootman stated that after the abuse happened, Denise not only suffered a miscarriage, but she also had a broken finger.

Further revelations explained that Andy Jr once threatened his wife with a gun and fired it in another direction during a fight.  After the complaint was filed, Andy Jr was charged to court with four felony counts against him.

Andy Griffith in a publicity portrait issued for the TV series, “The Andy Griffith Show,” circa 1965 | Photo: Getty Images

Three out of four counts included assault with a deadly weapon, negligently discharging a firearm, and spousal abuse causing great bodily injury. During court appearances, Denise admitted to being a victim of abuse.

She provided pictures that showed her body, brutally injured, and in Andy Jr’s defense, his lawyer claimed Denise could have obtained such bruises from an accident in Colorado. Denise refuted all claims made by Blatt, noting that she sustained no injuries after the accident.

However, hospital records from Colorado were in Andy Jr’s favor as they revealed that Denise indeed suffered injuries after the car crash. The real estate developer’s trial continued for months, and in September 1992, he was placed on probation.

Andy Jr pleaded no consent after admitting to beating his pregnant wife. In addition to his three-year probation, he was sentenced to the 90 days he had spent in jail while awaiting trial.

After doing his time, Andy Jr continued his addiction to alcohol, which got worse. In 1996, his body gave up, and he passed away aged 38. Andy Jr’s death was felt by many, but mostly, his father.

Dixie once made it known that her brother’s death affected Andy Sr on a very deep level, but he could not go for the funeral. According to Dixie, there would be too many cameras and magazines, and it was not the best place for her father to be.

The comedian lived with the grief for two decades before he died in his home in Manteo, North Carolina, on July 3, 2012, aged 86. Andy Sr died of a heart attack after years of hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and coronary artery disease

A few days after her father’s death, Dixie opened up about how she felt. She said the day of Andy Sr’s death was unbelievable. Although Dixie knew her father had been sick for several years, a part of her could not accept his death.

Speaking about her father’s legacy, Dixie made it known that she and her three daughters loved watching Andy Sr’s movies. Dixie’s favorite movie was “Waitress,” which she tagged as a beautiful movie. Unlike his role in the movie, Andy Sr’s daughter said her father was nothing like a cranky old man.

Dixie admitted that her father was a very hands-on dad, but he was fun. She remembered her father getting into the water, putting her on his shoulder, and throwing her. She also recalled barbecue weekends spent in California and summers in North Carolina.

Dixie said her father had a strong will to live and enjoy his life, which he eventually did. Whenever she spoke to him about his granddaughters, he would always say, “Well, Isn’t that grand!” Dixie will always miss her father and considers him as grand.


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