Andy Griffith Dead: Actor Buried Hours Later

PHOTO: Andy Griffith is seen in this undated file photo, circa 1970.
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Legendary actor and comedian Andy Griffith was laid to rest quickly, buried by family less than five hours after he died.

Griffith's body was placed in a grave on Roanoke Island near the coast of North Carolina at approximately 11:30 a.m., a funeral spokesman told CNN.

"It had been planned for some time," said the spokesman. "This was the wish of his family."

Griffith, the legendary entertainer who became a household name to millions of TV viewers on "The Andy Griffith Show" and "Matlock," died Tuesday at the age of 86.

In a statement released Tuesday, Griffith's family said the actor died after an illness, with his wife by his side.

Griffith began acting and singing at an early age, starring in productions at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he'd attended college. He made his first Broadway appearance in the 1950s and soon moved into TV and movies.

Griffith garnered Hollywood's attention with his starring role in 1957's "A Face in the Crowd," playing a country boy who schemes his way into TV and politics. In 1960, Griffith landed "The Andy Griffith Show" on CBS. He played Sheriff Andy Taylor, a widower and a wise man who kept the fictional town of Mayberry, North Carolina, in check. He starred alongside his friend Don Knotts for five years. Ron Howard also starred in series, playing Opie, the only child of Sheriff Taylor.

"The Andy Griffith Show" was a hit, and while Knotts won multiple Emmys for his role as Deputy Barney Fife, Griffith never received that honor. He left the show in 1968 but returned for the 1986 reunion TV movie "Return to Mayberry," as well as two more reunion specials in 1993 and 2003.

Recently, Griffith had taken on small roles in such movies as 2007's "Waitress" and 2009's "Play the Game." He also made an appearance on a 2001 episode of the TV drama "Dawson's Creek."

Griffith is survived by his third wife, Cindi Knight, and daughter from his first marriage, Dixie Nan Griffith.

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