What Faith, Family Meant to Andy Griffith
Guideposts remembers the beloved actor with this 1996 story of how he dealt with debilitating pain and revived his flagging career.
At the end of that year, I sat in our unsold house with no bank account to speak of and no work in sight. Not only was I old by Hollywood standards, but I had also been out of the game for a year. That alone is hard to overcome.
I was getting physically stronger, but I was so depressed. We couldn’t sell the house—I didn’t know what to do.
Then Cindi came up with an off-the-wall idea. “Maybe it’s a good thing we couldn’t sell the house,” she said. “Maybe it was God showing us grace. If we moved to North Carolina now you might indeed never work again. What we need to do is stay here and stoke the fire.”
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That day, and every day for quite a while, Cindi and I went over to The William Morris Agency at lunchtime and sat in the lobby. My agent and every agent in the building saw us. Everybody talked to us, invited us to their offices, some to lunch.
The upshot of it was I got roles in four TV movies that year, including Return to Mayberry with Don Knotts and Ron Howard, and the pilot for Matlock—a show that ended up running for nine years!
During this period Cindi decided to give up pursuing her own acting career and work with me on mine. I don’t know how I would have made it without her.
That was more than a decade ago. Now, though Matlock is over, I have a new feature film, and I’ve recorded an album of my favorite gospel songs. Ageism hasn’t left Hollywood, but I hope I’ll continue to work.
Guillain-Barré has left me with permanent pain in both feet, but like an unwelcome guest, it isn’t so bad when I stop paying attention to it.
Challenges and pain will continue all my life, I know, but with Cindi at my side to remind me to accept God’s grace, I’ll go forward and continue to work with love and happiness.
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