The TV legend, who crystallized the idyllic American small town in his eponymous hit series, died of a heart attack July 3 at the age of 86. On his long-running show, Griffith played wise patriarch, sheriff Andy Taylor, the foil to the antics-filled Don Knotts. Decades later, Griffith continued to have success on the small screen with his title role in the courtroom series Matlock. "His pursuit of excellence and the joy he took in creating served generations and shaped my life," said director Ron Howard, who played his son Opie on the The Andy Griffith Show. "I'm forever grateful."