Andy and Don: The Making of a Friendship and a Classic American TV Show

ANDY & DON                                                   DANIEL DE VISE

A lively and revealing biography of Andy Griffith and Don Knotts, celebrating the powerful real-life friendship behind one of America's most iconic television programs.

Andy Griffith and Don Knotts met on Broadway in the 1950s. When Andy went to Hollywood to film a TV pilot about a small-town sheriff, Don called to ask if the sheriff could use a deputy. The comedic synergy between Sheriff Andy Taylor and Deputy Barney Fife ignited The Andy Griffith Show, elevating a folksy sitcom into a timeless study of human friendship, as potent off the screen as on. Andy and Don -- fellow Southerners born into poverty and raised among scofflaws, bullies, and drunks -- captured the hearts of Americans across the country as they rocked lazily on the front porch, meditating about the simple pleasure of a bottle of pop.

But behind this sleepy, small-town charm, de Vise's exclusive reporting reveals explosions of violent temper, bouts of crippling neurosis, and all-too-human struggles with the temptations of fame. Andy and Don chronicles unspoken rivalries, passionate affairs, unrequited loves, and friendships lost and regained. Although Andy and Don ended their Mayberry partnership in 1965, they remained best friends for the next half-century, with Andy visiting Don at his death bed.

Written by Don Knotts's brother-in-law and featuring extensive unpublished interviews with those closest to both men, Andy and Don is the definitive literary work on the legacy of The Andy Griffith Show and a provocative and an entertaining read about two of America's most enduring stars.


A wonderful story about the friendship and the careers of Andy Griffith and Don Knotts. Both men grew up in the South and both had difficult childhoods. The author will take you through each one. He then shows you how they got into acting and how they made their way to Broadway where they would eventually meet. Eventually in a play and a movie that Andy Griffith would be known for titled “No time for Sergeants”, both the play and movie were successful. Andy would also have a few more top movies. Don Knotts would go from Broadway to do radio shows and then move into television when the shows were still being made in New York. When Andy was offered the idea about doing a T.V. show he came up with a sheriff in a small southern town he also thought of Don Knotts as the deputy. This made up one of the best shows but also one of the best characters in T.V. Barney Fife. He takes you through the rest of the show along with the different characters until 1965 when Don Knotts left the show and went into the movies and the author goes through those. You also get a look at the later show Matlock and of course a look at the marriages they had and Don’s death. Overall a very good book. I received this book from I gave it 5 stars. Follow us at

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