Andy and Don by Daniel de Vise

Andy and Don

A lively and revealing biography of Andy Griffith and Don Knotts, celebrating the powerful real-life friendship behind one of America’s most iconic television programs.

Andy Griffith and Don Knotts met on Broadway in the 1950s. When Andy went to Hollywood to film a TV pilot about a small-town sheriff, Don called to ask if the sheriff could use a deputy. The comedic synergy between Sheriff Andy Taylor and Deputy Barney Fife ignited The Andy Griffith Show, elevating a folksy sitcom into a timeless study of human friendship, as potent off the screen as on. Andy and Don—fellow Southerners born into poverty and raised among scofflaws, bullies, and drunks—captured the hearts of Americans across the country as they rocked lazily on the front porch, meditating about the simple pleasure of a bottle of pop.

But behind this sleepy, small-town charm, de Visé’s exclusive reporting reveals explosions of violent temper, bouts of crippling neurosis, and all-too-human struggles with the temptations of fame. Andy and Don chronicles unspoken rivalries, passionate affairs, unrequited loves, and friendships lost and regained. Although Andy and Don ended their Mayberry partnership in 1965, they remained best friends for the next half-century, with Andy visiting Don at his death bed.

Written by Don Knotts’s brother-in-law and featuring extensive unpublished interviews with those closest to both men, Andy and Don is the definitive literary work on the legacy of The Andy Griffith Show and a provocative and an entertaining read about two of America’s most enduring stars. – See More


This book wasn’t as interesting to me as I thought it would be. There were a lot of facts that made the book seem dry to me. There were some sections interesting – when it was Andy and Don interacting with one another. When I was younger, I watched The Andy Griffith Show with my mom and I’ve seen several of Don Knotts’ movies, as well as some episodes of Matlock, so my perspective of them resulted from those shows and movies. However, this book kind of changed my perspective of them, with the drinking, partying, affairs, and the anger and abuse. Maybe I just had the wrong impression of them before reading the book, but reading it affected my view on them.

The book also seemed all over the place, where it wasn’t ordered by theme or time frame. For the most part, I think it was written by time frame, but then there were times when it seemed to be written by themes.

At the end of the book, the author includes an annotated list of some of the best Andy Griffith Show episodes and a selected filmography of both men. This is a neat feature so those who read the book can look at the lists if they want to watch some of Andy’s and Don’s movies, as well as some of the episodes of The Andy Griffith Show, if they don’t want to watch all of them or want some episodes to start off with.

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