July 3rd, 2012
04:44 PM ET

What we love about Andy Griffith

(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. "

Read the full post on CNN's Marquee blog

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