Don Knotts really enjoyed what he did. Having a career where you are one of America’s most beloved and well-known individuals is a pretty sweet gig. Not to mention the paycheck at the end of it. It’s also a great thing to know that Don had a solid character – he was a good guy with great intentions and always made people bring out their best sides. This is why the actor was so widely appreciated, and never really needed to take a break or deal with any serious drama or controversies.
The successful actor was also known as one of the hardest working actors in Hollywood and was extremely consistent in his performances while having a very likable personality, making him an easy pick for studios. He appeared in over 85 films and TV shows throughout his more than five decades of work. Some of his TV shows would end up running for many years to come, and he truly enjoyed every one of them. Don Knotts really loved what he did, he was an entertainer at heart, right until the end.
Don’s Friendship With Andy Griffith
Andy Griffith and Don Knotts were great friends not just on the screen, but also behind the cameras. The two had fantastic chemistry together and have both fondly reflected on their friendship when questioned about it. All you have to do if you want to see their great connection is to watch how Knott makes Griffith laugh during their shows together, it's immediately clear that they get along really well. When Andy Griffith’s daughter was asked about the duo's relationship, she said: "He loved Don very, very much. They had a deep and abiding respect for each other, and they remained friends till the end."
In fact, the two have recently had a book written about them called "Andy & Don: The Making of a Friendship and a Classic American TV Show". The book was written by Daniel de Visé and is based on numerous interviews with people who knew these two from childhood, during their professional lives and right up to their passing. Don and Andy were best friends from the 1950s and their friendship continued all the way until their passing, more than five decades later.
His Most Iconic Roles
While Don Knotts appeared in many films and TV shows over the course of his performances as an actor for over five decades, his two biggest roles that would go on to become legendary and iconic were as Deputy Barney Fife on The Andy Griffith Show (1960) and as Ralph Furley on Three’s Company (1977). The actor became very popular thanks to these two shows, as they eventually set the grounds for his later fame and recognition. These roles got him into many other films and studio deals, and even netted him various awards and honors for his excellent performance on them.
Don quickly rose in prominence to become one of the most famous celebrities in Hollywood at the time, thanks in large part to his recognizability, which was attributed to his unique and consistent persona. Another factor that got him so much success as an actor was his ability to consistently make people laugh and have a good time. Even when acting in what critics would call a "mediocre" film, he would still give the audience a fun experience and they would love him for it. You just knew what to expect when you saw anything with Don Knotts in it — a funny, loving, kind, authentic, goofy and relatable entertainer, doing his best to make you laugh.
Building Each Other Up
We've already discussed how Don Knotts and Andy Griffith were truly the best of friends you could ever imagine and stayed that way for over five decades. What's really unique about their friendship, is that they often claimed to have never had a serious fight and that they were generally able to solve any conflict within just a few minutes without too much effort. The two worked together side by side many times throughout their careers and helped prop each other up, both personally and professionally, many times during their long friendship.
Their charisma and connection are palpable on the screen, and there's really nothing more entertaining than spending a good Sunday morning with your family while watching these good friends and even greater performers in one of their great performances in shows like The Andy Griffith Show or Murdock.
His Friendship With John Ritter
Knotts had many friends over his lifetime, with a lot of these friendships extending over many decades of his life. He's the kind of guy that everyone just has good things to say about him, as evident by the many interviews of people who were close to Don throughout his life. One of Don's great longtime friends was the late actor John Ritter, who appeared alongside Don Knotts' shows in the successful TV show "8 Simple Rules" back in 2002. The episode was a tribute dedicated to their various previous TV shows and performances, with Knotts wearing one of his usual wacky outfits.
Don was also the last star from "Three's Company" to ever work with Ritter. The two had a great working relationship and were good friends outside of the studio as well. John Ritter eventually passed away in 2003. He too received various awards and recognitions throughout his life as both actor and comedian.