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Andy Griffith Movies: 'Face In The Crowd' Actor Dies At 86

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Andy Griffith, 'Face in the Crowd' star, died on Tuesday.
Andy Griffith, 'Face in the Crowd' star, died on Tuesday.

Andy Griffith died on Tuesday in North Carolina at the age of 86. Though the late actor was most famous for his roles on television shows like "Matlock" and, fittingly, "The Andy Griffith Show," he made his splash in Hollywood with "A Face in the Crowd." The 1957 film was Griffith's big-screen debut.

Directed by the legendary Elia Kazan, "A Face in the Crowd" told the story of a charismatic country man, Lonesome Rhodes (Griffith), who gets plucked from obscurity by a local radio show producer and becomes a media sensation and political pundit. While "A Face in the Crowd" received mixed reviews upon its release, the decades since have been kind to the film -- especially with how it relates to the current cable news climate. Glenn Beck has been compared to Griffith's Lonesome Rhodes on more than one occasion.

In the ensuing years, Griffith focused on his television pursuits, but did appear in films here and there. He led "No Time for Sergeants" and "Onionhead" in 1958, co-starred in 1961's "The Second Time Around" and was the star of 1969's "Angel in My Pocket." Griffith didn't appear in another movie until 1996's "Spy Hard," as the villainous Gen. Rancor opposite Leslie Nielsen's Dick Steele.

Griffith's last film was the 2009 comedy-romance "Playing the Game."

For more on Griffith's death, click here. For more on "A Face in the Crowd," check out James Wolcott's excellent 2007 Vanity Fair piece on the film.

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Andy Griffith 1926 - 2012
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CORRECTION: A previous version of this article stated that Griffith passed away in California; he actually died in North Carolina. The error has been corrected.

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