(CNN) - It's been said that when he was younger, Andy Griffith had aspirations to become an opera singer, but fans of "The Andy Griffith Show" and "Matlock" are undoubtedly happy that he wound up pursuing acting.
The actor, who died at 86 on Tuesday, is most beloved for his portrayal of Sheriff Andy Taylor on the timeless '60s favorite "The Andy Griffith Show," as well as for his role as defense attorney Ben Matlock on the late '80s-mid '90s series "Matlock."
1. The example he set:
"The Andy Griffith Show," with its unforgettable theme song, gave the actor a landmark role in Sheriff Taylor. The widowed father to a young Ron Howard's Opie, Griffith's portrayal of the Sheriff, who oversaw Mayberry, North Carolina, still resonates decades later.
Time magazine's TV critic James Poniewozik nominates the show, which ran from 1960-1968, as one of the cultural touchstones that shaped America.
"This gentle small-town comedy gave us Mayberry's quirks without ridiculing or patronizing them," Poniewozik writes. "And Griffith's Sheriff Taylor, who'd rather wield a wry comment than a gun, was a weekly example of Americans talking through their problems. "
By Peter Hamby, CNN Political Reporter
Las Vegas, Nevada (CNN) - In 1986, with control of the United States Senate up for grabs, The Economist dispatched a reporter to Nevada, an important battleground that year, to survey the race between then-Rep. Harry Reid and his Republican opponent, James Santini.
"Mr. Reid's performance in Las Vegas could well turn on the Mormon vote," the correspondent noted, spotlighting Reid's religion. "Though only some 12% of Nevadans are Mormons, they punch more than their weight. Less than half the state's eligible voters bother to register, but Mormons almost always do, which gives them about a quarter of the likely turnout."
Members of the Jesus Christ Church of Latter Day Saints still punch more than their weight in Nevada politics, holding a broad array of elected offices and deep sway within the business community.
But the portrait of Nevada as a sparsely populated desert locale where elections hinge on the Mormon vote now seems quaint.
The state's dramatic population growth over the last two decades - two-thirds of all registered voters in Nevada registered to vote after the 2000 presidential election, for instance - has diluted the influence of Mormon voters on statewide elections.
Editor’s Note: Singer-songwriter Chely Wright is the author of the autobiographical book "Like Me." Her coming out process was filmed in the documentary "Wish Me Away." This is an edited version of her conversation with CNN about Anderson Cooper’s announcement, why she came out, and what happened after.
by Chely Wright, Special to CNN
I’m happy about Anderson (coming out) and that he didn’t allow himself to be a whisper.
I hid for 16 years of my career.
It became worth it to hide - until it is not worth it anymore.
Video: Chely Wright on coming out as a lesbian
I was afraid.
Singing is not my hobby, it is my job. I was afraid of losing my livelihood. FULL POST