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Rodney Dillard and Maggie Peterson Issue Statement on Death of Andy Griffith

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Andy Griffith gets Medal of FreedomAtlanta, GA -- Rodney Dillard and Maggie Peterson have both issued statements regarding the death of actor Andy Griffith who died yesterday in Dare County, North Carolina. Both appeared as part of the Darling family on The Andy Griffith Show in the ‘60s. Griffith was a promoter of bluegrass and Ozark music on his program.

“Andy Griffith became more than an icon. He represented American family values and has given comfort and hope in these uncertain times. He gave The Dillards (The Darlings) an opportunity to be part of this. Andy was kind, generous and patient with an inexperienced group of pickers from the Ozark Mountains. Andy Griffith’s impact on the world will last forever,” said Rodney Dillard. Rodney appeared in six episodes of The Andy Griffith Show (1963-1966), Return to Mayberry TV movie (1986) and composer of the Andy Griffith Show Reunion TV special (1993). For more information, please visit www.RodneyDillard.TV

Maggie Peterson, who played the role of Charlene Dillard on The Andy Griffith Show (1963-1968) kept in contact with Andy throughout the years. Today in a tearful statement, she said “The passing of Andy leaves me so saddened. It feels like the presence that kept us steady in life is now gone. The Darling family was treated with such respect on the show. These could have been ridiculous characters without Andy’s respectful reaction to us. Everyone will truly miss him. Thank God we have those beautiful episodes to keep us company. He enhanced my life and I will miss him so.”

In 1962, The Dillards, who had a new recording contract with Elektra Records, were asked by the producers of The Andy Griffith Show to play a bluegrass-playing family (The Darlings), whose patriarch was to played by popular Hollywood actor Denver Pyle… and to this day The Dillards are seen nearly every day somewhere in the world thanks to the still enormous popularity of The Andy Griffith Show re-runs. Rodney Dillard wrote and collaborated with others to write such classic songs as “There Is A Time”, “The Darlin’ Boys”, “Ebo Walker”, and “Dooley.”

Andy Griffith promoted the music of the region including Appalachian, Ozark and bluegrass. The Darlings was the bluegrass musical group frequently on the program and featured Doug Dillard and his late brother Rodney. The program provided an easy access to introduce bluegrass and various artists to America's audience. Griffith's influence over the lives of an entire generation was reflected in the black and white television sets in livingrooms across the nation.

Griffith was nominated for both Tony Awards and Emmy Awards as well as being a Grammy Award winning artist. In 2005, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by then President, George W. Bush.

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