Jesse Donald "Don" Knotts (July 21, 1924 – February 24, 2006) played Barney Fife on The Andy Griffith Show and Return to Mayberry. He has been known in his acting career for his role in Three's Company as Ralph Furley, in many Disney films like The Apple Dumpling Gang and No Deposit No Return, and several other comedy films including The Incredible Mr. Limpet, The Shakiest Gun in the West, The Love God?, and The Ghost and Mr. Chicken.
Films and TelevisionEdit
Knotts won all five Emmy nominations received for his supporting role on the series.
After gaining fame for his frequent appearances on The Steve Allen Show, he had a long career in films and television. He is well remembered for his roles as Ralph Furley on Three's Company and Les Calhoun on Matlock with Andy Griffith. He also made appearances on The Joey Bishop Show (as Barney Fife), The Red Skelton Show, The New Andy Griffith Show (as Barney Fife), The Sonny and Cher Show, The Muppet Show, Step by Step (as "Deputy Feif"), and That 70's Show (as "the Landlord"). He appeared in the reunion specials Andy Griffith Show Reunion, Inside TV Land: The Andy Griffith Show, and The Andy Griffith Show Reunion: Back to Mayberry.
Knotts appeared in No Time for Sergeants (with Andy Griffith), Wake Me When It's Over, It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, Move Over Darling, The Incredible Mr. Limpet, The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, The Reluctant Astronaut, The Shakiest Gun in the West, Rowan & Martin at the Movies, The Love God?, How to Frame a Figg, The Private Eyes, Cannonball Run II (with Jim Nabors and George Lindsey), Pleasantville, and the Disney films The Apple Dumpling Gang, No Deposit No Return, Gus, Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, Hot Lead and Cold Feet, and The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again. He provided voices for many animated productions, including Scooby-Doo (voicing a caricature of himself), Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night, Cats Don't Dance, Chicken Little, and Max Lucado's Hermie & Friends video series. He was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His daughter Karen Knotts played Opie Taylor's receptionist in "Return to Mayberry."
Trivia / NotesEdit
- Was a Ventriloquist in his early years from out of High School and his doll was named, Danny.
- Enlisted in the United States Army at age 19.
- Veteran of the Second World War who was awarded the World War II Victory Medal, Philippine Liberation Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (with 4 bronze service stars), Army Good Conduct Medal, Marksman Badge (with Carbine Bar) and Honorable Service Lapel Pin.
- Served in the Army of the United States, under the service number 35 756 363, from June 21, 1943 to January 6, 1946. Discharged in the rank of Technician Grade 5, which was the equivalent of a Corporal.
- Attended and graduated from West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia, with a BA in Education graduated 1948
- Don was conceived after his parents had already raised other sons. His father had a nervous breakdown at the prospect of raising another child from birth.
- Older brother "Shadow" died of asthma in 1942.
- Took an early job plucking chickens for a market when he was told he didn't have a future in acting.
- He was the youngest of four brothers. His family life was troubled; Knotts' father twice threatened his mother with a knife and later spent time in mental hospitals, while older brother Earl - nicknamed "Shadow" because of his thinness - died of asthma in 1942 when Knotts was still a teenager.
- Buried among the stars at the beautiful and prestigious Westwood Memorial Park. 1218 Glendon Avenue, Los Angeles, California.
- Don ceased to be a regular on The Andy Griffith Show after 1965 because originally, the show's producers had intended to end the series after that year, still at a creative and popular peak. Knotts had already signed a multi-picture deal with Universal Studios when Griffith relented to network pressure and kept his show on the air for several more years. Don said later that he deeply regretted having to leave the show, but his film commitments prevented him from continuing as a cast regular.