|Andy Griffith widow to raze his home|
The widow of actor Andy Griffith has gotten a permit to tear down the house where he lived for many years on the North Carolina waterfront, upsetting friends who had hoped it would be preserved as a museum or Graceland-type estate.
Cindi Griffith obtained the demolition permit Monday, according to Dare County records. County officials and friends confirmed the permit is to demolish a smaller house along the Roanoke Sound that Griffith bought in the 1950s, not the larger house that he and Cindi built nearby several years ago.
William Ivey Long, the Tony Award-winning costume designer whose parents were friends with Griffith and his first wife, Barbara, said Griffith told him in 2007 that he wanted to preserve the older home as a museum. The two discussed the possibility when Long had an exhibit of his costumes at the Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington, Long said.
"We compared notes," Long said in a phone interview from his studio in New York City. "I had to fit mine into an existing museum. I told him, if you're doing yours, you can make it however you want it."
Griffith, who died last July, was best known for playing the wise Sheriff Andy Taylor on "The Andy Griffith Show" and folksy lawyer Ben Matlock on "Matlock." He starred as the manipulative Lonesome Rhodes in the movie "A Face in the Crowd." One of his last roles was as a cranky diner owner in the movie "Waitress."
Griffith wanted the museum to include items from his TV shows, along with memorabilia from his music career, Long said. They didn't discuss whether it would compete with the Andy Griffith Museum in Griffith's hometown of Mount Airy, Long said.
Cindi Griffith didn't return messages Wednesday. Her husband's will doesn't mention a museum or the property. The will - dated May 3, 2012, two months before Griffith died - turns over most of his property and estate to the trustee of a trust, whose records aren't public. The attorney for the will declined to comment.
(Associated Press, 3/20/13)