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Don Knotts too sick to attend his own festival

81-year-old actor advised not to travel to West Virginia for celebration
/ Source: The Associated Press

Don Knotts' failing health has forced his hometown to indefinitely postpone a parade and film festival in his honor that had been scheduled for Aug. 12-14.

A doctor for the 81-year-old Emmy-winning actor advised him not to travel from Beverly Hills, Calif., said Stacey Brodak, executive director of the Greater Morgantown Convention and Visitors Bureau.

"He had hoped to be here for the celebration, but escalating health issues have made it unwise for him to make the cross-country trip at this time," she said Tuesday.

Brodak didn't elaborate on the nature of his ailment.

Knotts, a Morgantown native with dozens of film credits, is best known as the bumbling Deputy Barney Fife on "The Andy Griffith Show" and as would-be swinger landlord Ralph Furley on "Three's Company."

This fall, he'll be the voice of Turkey Mayor in the animated film "Chicken Little."

Three events will go on as planned — the unveiling of a sidewalk star, the first meeting of the local Don Knotts Fan Club and a display of Knotts memorabilia.

But spokesman Jack Thompson said the visitors' bureau didn't want to mislead potential tourists about Knotts' attendance.

"We got hundreds, if not thousands, of inquiries," he said. "But the first question out of everybody's mouth is, `Is he going to be there?' And that's from sponsors, as well as people attending."

Thompson said no new date for the festival has been set.