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Don Knotts
Don Knotts
Date of Birth
July 21, 1924
Date of Death
February 24, 2006
Birth name
Jesse Donald Knotts
Morgantown, West Virginia
Cause of Death
Pulmonary and respiratory complications
External Links:

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 Television[]

Knotts won all five Emmy nominations received for his supporting role in the series.

After gaining fame for his frequent appearances on The Steve Allen Show, Knotts 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.

He 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 DanceChicken 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 / Notes[]

  • Knotts was a ventriloquist in his early years from out of high school and his doll was named Danny.
  • Knotts enlisted in the United States Army at age 19.
  • Knotts was a 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.
  • Knotts 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.
  • Knotts attended and graduated from West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia, with a BA in Education graduated 1948
  • Knotts 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.
  • His older brother "Shadow" died of asthma in 1942.
  • Knotts 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.
  • Knotts is buried among the stars at the beautiful and prestigious Westwood Memorial Park. 1218 Glendon Avenue, Los Angeles, California.
  • Knotts ceased to be a regular on The Andy Griffith Show after 1965 because the series' producers had originally 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. Knotts said later he deeply regretted having to leave the series, but his film commitments prevented him from continuing as a cast regular.
  • Three times parodies of Don Knotts van be seen in Cartoons; Once on "Freakazoid/"Toby Danger" non speaking cameo as a Barney Fife deputy while Las Vegas Is a battleground for giant robots; and twice on the scooby-doo Movie series-features Knotts as a Deputy and once as a Private Detective {Knotts would later co-star with comedic actor Tim Conway [of McHale's Navy] in "The Private Eyes" about a pair of Private Eyes[!]