Griffith was born in Mount Airy, NC and graduated from UNC Chapel Hill with a degree in music. Although famous as an actor, he was also a talented singer and played trombone. In 2007, he was inducted into the Christian Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Other awards he received include the Medal of Freedom in 2005 and a Grammy for his 1996 album I Love to Tell the Story - 25 Timeless Hymns.
For more on the life and death of Andy Griffith, read the stories at CNN (including a slide show), Fox News, CBS News and USA Today. See also his entry in Biography.com.
Among the things Andy Griffith did late in life was advise Brad Paisley on being patient.