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Don Knotts

Don Knotts (July 21, 1924 – February 24, 2006) was an American actor best known for his portrayal of Barney Fife on the 1960s American television sitcom The Andy Griffith Show, for his appearances opposite Tim Conway in a number of comedy films, and for his role as Mr. Furley in the 1970s sitcom Three's Company.

Early life

Knotts was born in Morgantown, West Virginia to Elsie L. Moore and William Jesse Knotts. He served in World War II as an entertainer and received the World War II Victory Medal. Knotts graduated from West Virginia University in 1948 with a degree in theater.


After being a regular performer in the soap opera Search for Tomorrow from 1953 to 1955, he gained additional exposure in 1956 on Steve Allen's variety show, appearing in Allen's mock Man in the Street interviews, always as a man obviously very nervous about being on camera.

Knotts's portrayal of Deputy Barney Fife on the American television sitcom The Andy Griffith Show earned him five Emmy Awards. After leaving the series in 1965, Knotts starred in a series of film comedies which drew on his persona as a bumbling everyman who gets into oddball situations: The Incredible Mr. Limpet (1964), The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (1966), The Reluctant Astronaut (1967), The Shakiest Gun in the West (1968) and The Love God? (1969).

In the late 1960s and early '70s, he served as the spokesman for Dodge trucks and was featured prominently in a series of print ads and dealer brochures.

In the 1970s, Knotts and Tim Conway starred together in a series of slapstick movies, including the 1975 Disney film The Apple Dumpling Gang, and its 1979 sequel, The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again.

Knotts returned to series television in the late 1970s, appearing as landlord Ralph Furley on Three's Company, after Audra Lindley and Norman Fell left the show to star in a short-lived spin-off series (The Ropers). Knotts remained on the show from 1979 until it ended in 1984. In 1986, he reunited with Andy Griffith in the 1986 made-for-television movie Return to Mayberry, where he reprised his role as Barney Fife. From 1989 to 1992, Knotts again co-starred with Griffith, playing a recurring role as pesky neighbor Les Calhoun on Matlock.

In 1998, Knotts made a cameo as the mysterious TV repairman in Pleasantville, and seven years later performed as the voice of Mayor Turkey Lurkey in Chicken Little (2005) (his first Disney movie since 1979).


On Friday, February 24, 2006, Knotts died at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles from pulmonary and respiratory complications related to lung cancer.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2006.

Don Knotts Facts

Birth NameJesse Donald Knotts
BirthdayJuly 21, 1924
BirthplaceMorgantown, West Virginia, USA
Date of deathFebruary 24, 2006 (Beverly Hills, California, USA, age 81)

Selected Filmography

Chicken Little
The Andy Griffith Show: The Complete Series
The Ghost and Mr. Chicken
Don Knotts 4-Movie Collection
It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
The Apple Dumpling Gang
Three's Company: The Complete Series
The Private Eyes
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