DARE COUNTY, NC (CBSMiami) – Andy Griffith, the iconic actor who was the chief television lawman of a tiny North Carolina town made so real it’s celebrated today as a real place, died at his North Carolina home this morning. He was 86 years old.

Griffith, whom along with Aunt Bea, his TV son Opie (played by Ron Howard), and characters like Goober and Floyd the Barber, helped create the town of Mayberry, a mythical southern town were the crooks let them into and out of jail and the deputy sheriff, played by Don Knotts, was so hapless Sherriff Andy let him carry only a single bullett, was forever known as the easy spoken man who always seemed to have the right solution.

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After the series ended, Griffith had a second career as the homsepun lawyer in Matlock, a hero for a generation of seniors.

Tuesday morning paramedics were called to Griffith’s home on Roanoke Island shortly after 7 a.m., according to the Dare County Sheriff’s Office.

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He was born in Mount Airy, North Carolina on June 1, 1926.

Griffith earned a degree in music from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1949, according to IMDB.com.

In 1955 he was featured in “No Time for Sergeants” on Broadway for which he received a Tony Nomination.  He would later appear in the film version.  He also received a Tony nomination for his role in “Destry Rides Again.”

In addition to being an actor, Griffith was a director, producer and even a Grammy Award winning southern gospel singer and writer.

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In 2005 he was given the presidential Medal of Freedom by President George Bush.