EXCLUSIVE: Ron Howard has not heard from Andy Griffith‘s family yet and so cannot confirm the Hollywood legend’s passing. But the prominent director and producer knew that Griffith “has not been well for some time”. About Griffith, who played Howard’s father on The Andy Griffith Show from 1960-1968, Howard told me just now:

His love of creating, the joy he took in it whether it was drama or comedy or his music, was inspiring to grow up around. The spirit he created on the set of The Andy Griffith Show was joyful and professional all at once. It was an amazing environment. And I think it was a reflection of the way he felt about having the opportunity to create something that people could enjoy. It was always with respect and passion for the opportunity and really what it could offer people in a very unpretentious and earthy way. He felt he was always working in service of an audience he really respected and cared about. He was a great influence on me. His passing is sad. But he lived a great rich life.

Related: R.I.P. Andy Griffith

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