1947 Glee Club photo (via UNC's Yackety Yack)
Andy Griffith was born in Mount Airy, North Carolina on June 1, 1926. He began acting in high school plays and learned to play the trombone. After high school he enrolled as a pre-divinity student at the University of North Carolina in 1944.
While at UNC, Griffith joined Carolina Playmakers, the Phi Mu Alpha music fraternity, and was the president of the Glee Club. He also played acting roles in several student operettas, including Gilbert and Sullivan's The Gondoliers (1945), The Chimes of Normandy (1946), The Mikado (1948), and H.M.S. Pinafore (1949). Griffith changed his major to music and graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree in 1949.
After graduation, he taught for three years at Goldsboro High School in Goldsboro, North Carolina. Griffith and his wife (Barbara Edwards, a fellow UNC alumnus) developed a traveling routine, featuring singing, dancing, and monologues. One of these monologues, called What It Was Was Football
, was released as a single on Chapel Hill label Colonial Records
in 1953, then picked up by Capitol Records. It became a huge hit, reaching number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100
chart in February 1954.
Then there was the Andy Griffith Show, Matlock, etc., and etc.
Andy Griffith died July 3, 2012 at his home in Manteo, North Carolina, and was buried in his family cemetery nearby.
1947 Phi Mu Alpha music fraternity group photo (via UNC's Yackety Yack)