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Andy Griffith: Fathers Should Teach Honesty

Friday, 15 June 2007 12:00 AM

LOS ANGELES -- Actor Andy Griffith, who has delighted audiences playing folksy, fatherly roles over more than 50 years in show business, says the key advice he gave to his children was to be honest.

Roles played by Griffith, 81, have included sheriff Andy Taylor on "The Andy Griffith Show" in the 1960s and criminal defense attorney Benjamin Matlock in 1990s TV series "Matlock."

He is now starring in independent movie "Waitress" in which he plays a father figure, Joe, to a young woman looking for direction in life.

With the United States celebrating Father's Day on Sunday, Griffith talked to Reuters about his new movie and about father figures:

Q: You've had such a long career and so many memorable roles. Why perform in "Waitress?"

A: "It's a great script I thought, and Joe was pivotal. Joe sees into this girl what kind of trouble she's getting into . . . He sees her possibilities, and he sees that she's going someplace that is never going to make her happy."

Q: How important is it for younger generations to have older people to help guide them through life?

A: "Oh, it's very important. I have that with my daughter, and certainly Andy Taylor had it with Opie. (People) are looking for that sort of relationship all the time . . . It's up to us older people to look after - the best we can - younger people, and for them in their turn to look after their younger people. It goes on and on and on that way."

Q: For many years in the 1960's, you were a sort of father figure on TV for all America. What's the main difference between being a dad and raising kids then compared to now?

A: "It might be more difficult now, I don't know, with the war in Iraq. The 1960s were difficult, too . . . difficult times never stop, and so we all have to be prepared for them, to face them the best way we can with help from God."

Q: What was one piece of advice you gave your kids as they were growing up that still holds true today?

A: "To be honest. When a question comes up, to answer it honestly. To not dodge, to keep it clear, to keep it honest and fresh."

Q: One of the highest profile young celebrities, Paris Hilton, is in jail in Los Angeles. If you were her father, what would say to her about getting her life together?

A: "Oh my. I wouldn't know what to say to this very wealthy girl. But I bet you one thing: when she comes out, I bet you she straightens everything out. I'm sure she will. It's going to be tough for her and I feel bad for her, but when she gets done with it, it'll be better for her . . . and maybe (hers) will be a lesson for a lot of other young people, too."

Q: How about your father. Are there things he told you as a young man that you still remember to this day?

A: "My father had a great love in his heart and a great work ethic . . . He always was early, and I have followed that my whole life. When I was on Broadway, you were there a half hour before curtain. I was always there a half hour before the half hour."

© reuters 2007. All Rights Reserved.

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LOS ANGELES -- Actor Andy Griffith, who has delighted audiences playing folksy, fatherly roles over more than 50 years in show business, says the key advice he gave to his children was to be honest. Roles played by Griffith, 81, have included sheriff Andy Taylor on "The...
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Friday, 15 June 2007 12:00 AM
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