Don Knotts died last night of lung cancer at age 81. He will, of course, most famously be remembered as the bumbling deputy Barney Fife on The Andy Griffith Show. Eva and I were pleased to hear his voice as as Turkey Mayor in last fall’s Chicken Little. As a child, I absolutely loved Knotts in The Reluctant Astronaut, The Incredible Mr. Limpet, and — my favorite — The Ghost and Mr. Chicken. I still hum the organ music from that movie even though I haven’t seen it since probably around 1970. According to the Los Angeles Times:
Knotts, who lived in West Los Angeles, died Friday night of lung cancer at UCLA Medical Center, according to Sherwin Bash, his longtime manager.
Family members said that his longtime friend Griffth was one of his last visitors at Cedars on Friday night.
Despite health problems, Knotts had kept working in recent months. He lent his distinctive, high-pitched voice as Turkey Mayor in Walt Disney’s animated family film “Chicken Little,” which was released in November 2005. He also did guest spots in 2005 on NBC’s “Las Vegas” and Fox’s “That ’70s Show.” He occasionally co-headlined in live comedy shows with Tim Conway, his sometime co-star in Disney films such as “The Apple Dumpling Gang.” Knotts also appeared as the TV repairman in director Gary Ross’s whimsical 1998 comedy “Pleasantville,” and voiced the part of T.W. Turtle in the 1997 animated feature “Cats Don’t Dance.”
Here is Knotts as Barney Fife:
Here is a more recent photograph:
Finally, here a few sound clips of Don Knotts as Barney Fife:
May he rest in peace.