Before the Andy Griffith Show… way before Matlock… Andy Griffith made his film debut in the black-and-white film “A Face in the Crowd.” He played a country boy, a complex young man with a mean streak. A power-hungry drifter, who achieved success—first as a television host, and then in the political realm.
Director Elia Kazan cast Griffith as the lead in the 1957 film, and his co-stars included Patricia Neal, Lee Remick, Walter Matthau and Tony Franciosa.
Griffith was raised Baptist. While a student at Mount Airy High School in North Carolina, he admired the leader of the school’s brass band, a Moravian minister. In college, Andy first studied to be a Moravian minister, then switched majors and graduated with a bachelors of music from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Andy Griffith, a role model on the small screen, died today at his North Carolina home. He will be missed.
Here’s a dramatic scene from “A Face in the Crowd”—far from the dusty roads in Mayberry.