updated 07/03/2012 AT 1:00 PM ET
•originally published 07/03/2012 AT 10:25 AM ET
Andy Griffith, the beloved Sheriff Andy Taylor of TV’s iconic The Andy Griffith Show and dramatic defense attorney on Matlock, died at his North Carolina home Tuesday morning. He was 86.
A native of Mount Airy, N.C., Griffith originally wanted to be an opera singer, then a preacher, before turning to acting in college. In the late ’40s, he and his new bride, the former Barbara Edwards, set out with song-and-dance act that eventually evolved into his delivering folksy monologues on early TV variety shows such as The Ed Sullivan Show.