In 1960, celebrity Don Knotts joined the sitcom The Andy Griffith Show. For his part on the show, he won three Emmy Awards for excellent performance in a supporting part in a series. Though he left The Andy Griffith Show in 1965 to continue a movie career, his regular returns in 1966 and ’67 earned him two more Emmys. After starring in several movie comedies, Knotts also was part of the cast of Three’s Company until its 1984 death. Knotts died of lung cancer on February 24, 2006, at age 81, in La, California.
Before he entered high school, Knotts started performing as a ventriloquist and comic at various church and school events. He traveled to Nyc to also make his way as a comic, but returned home to attend West Virginia University when his career did not take off.
After graduating from school in 1948, Don Knotts again moved to The Big Apple, where he immediately became a regular on several television and radio programs. He also reprised his No Time for Sergeants part in the 1958 movie version, alongside Griffith, a guy routine on The Steve Allen Show.
In 1960, Knotts joined Griffith on a fresh situation comedy, The Andy Griffith Show, playing Deputy Sheriff Barney Fife to Griffith’s Sheriff Andy Taylor. Knotts remained with the extremely successful show for five seasons, during which time he won three Emmy Awards for excellent performance in a supporting part in a series. Though he left The Andy Griffith Show in 1965 to continue a movie career, his regular returns in 1966 and ’67 earned him two more Emmys.
His first leading part in a movie came in 1964, with The Incredible Mr. Limpet. By 1970, however, Knotts’s clean cut wit looked somewhat out of place in a more complex film industry, and he started to appear in a show of somewhat more juvenile movies, starting in 1975 with the Disney comedy-Western The Apple Dumpling Gang, co starring comedian Tim Conway, who became a regular collaborator.
In 1979, Don Knotts returned to his successful TV origins, joining the risqu success comedy Three’s Company as the eccentric, leisure suit-clad landlord Mr. Furley. He stayed on the show until it went off the air in 1984. In 1986, he joined his Andy Griffith Show costars, including Griffith and Ron Howard, on a extremely popular TV movie special, Return to Mayberry. In 1998, he played a crucial part in the acclaimed film Pleasantville, as a mysterious TV repairman who ushers two 1990s children to the black and white world of 1950s television. In 1999, the notoriously timid and private Knotts released his autobiography, Barney Fife and Other Characters I’ve Understood.
Knotts died of lung cancer on February 24, 2006, in the age of 81, in La, California.
Knotts and his school sweetheart, Kathryn Metz, wed in 1947 and divorced in 1964. He was married to his second wife, Loralee Czuchna, from 1974 to 1983, and was afterwards romantically involved with celebrity Francey Yarborough.