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Andy Griffith, the man behind 'Matlock,' dies at age 86

benmatlock.jpgAndy Griffith, who gave the '80s generation the unkillable show Matlock, has passed away at age 86.

The Associated Press reports that the actor died Tuesday at about 7 a.m. in North Carolina. A family statement is expected shortly.

Matlock, a show that ran first on NBC then ABC, lasted from 1986 to 1995. It chronicled the courtroom tales of the thrifty, hot-dog snarfing Ben Matlock, an attorney based in Georgia. It was largely considered a Southern-fried version of Perry Mason, in that both shows thrived on drama that would explode only in the closing minutes of courtroom trials.

"Mr. Griffith effortlessly makes the most of the country sophisticate," the New York Times wrote in its preview of the show back in 1986. ''Matlock makes easy viewing, so easy that you are liable to forget it's there." 

It's impossible to forget that Griffith was a TV fixture in the '80s, a decade in which he starred in a half dozen TV movies and a handful of other TV series, including Hotel, Fantasy Island and The Love Boat.

[Last modified: Tuesday, July 3, 2012 12:34pm]


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