Andy Griffith Studied to Be a Moravian Minister!

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.

  • Leticia Velasquez

    His performance in “A Face in the Crowd” was simply terrifying. I far prefer his benign Sheriff Andy Taylor role. It is my favorite TV show.

  • Brandt Hardin

    Andy brought small-town humor and life into the homes of every American through their television screens. He’ll be missed after his long and full career of entertainment which still fills many households like my own family’s. I created a portrait of Andy and Don Knotts for my Cult of Personality series a few years back, which depicted entertainers who influenced my life in one capacity or another. I shared work of art today on my artist’s blog at Feel free to drop by and share your own memories of growing up with Mayberry.

  • Kathy Schiffer

    Just a little addendum: Did you see that he died at 7:00 a.m. this morning, and he was buried at 11:30 a.m.? The state funeral director said that in his 32 years, he’d never seen anyone buried that quickly– but that’s what the family wanted.