Beyond Mayberry: Remembering the roles of Andy Griffith

July 3, 2012 at 12:16 PM ET

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Long before "The Andy Griffith Show," the late actor made his big-screen mark as "Lonesome" Rhodes in 1957's "A Face in the Crowd."

Andy Griffith may have been best known for his role as the always affable lawman Sheriff Andy Taylor in the long-running series “The Andy Griffith Show,” but the late actor’s body of work stretched far beyond the borders of Mayberry.

Long before Griffith made his mark as the lead in his namesake 1960s TV comedy, he hit the big screen for 1957’s dark drama “A Face in the Crowd.” Fans who are more familiar with Griffith’s lighthearted roles might be shocked to see him playing the part of Arkansas-drifter-turned-egomaniacal-star, Larry “Lonesome” Rhodes. But they’d no doubt be impressed too. Griffith’s performance brought to life one of classic cinema’s more despicable characters.

Just one year later, Griffith showed moviegoers that he wasn’t all grim and gruff. In “No Time for Sergeants,” he played for it laughs as bumbling Private Will Stockdale. But it wasn’t just Griffith’s good humor that made “Sergeants” so memorable. It was also the first time the star shared the screen with later-TV co-star Don Knotts.

After “The Andy Griffith Show” and “Mayberry R.F.D,” Griffith took on a long list of TV guest spots and a few single-season shows before finding his next iconic role in 1986 in “Matlock.” At 60, the star once again played the part of a man after justice. But this time, instead of arresting the alleged bad guys, he defended the accused. He also picked up a senior-citizen fan following for his efforts.

Of course, Griffith’s career wasn’t limited to the big or small screens. One of his most memorable performances was delivered as part of his early 1950s stand-up routine. Listen to the following clip for his famous college football monologue, “What it Was, Was Football.”

And while this is a roundup of Griffith’s work outside of Mayberry, it just wouldn’t be complete without at least one look at him as Andy Taylor.

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