Don Knotts

Don Knotts

Real Name:
Jesse Donald Knotts
Born: July 21, 1924, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA
Died: February 24, 2006, Los Angeles, California, USA

An American comedic actor best known for his portrayal of Barney Fife on the 1960s television sitcom The Andy Griffith Show, a role which earned him five Emmy Awards. He also played landlord Ralph Furley on the 1970s and 1980s television sitcom Three's Company.

In 1996, TV Guide ranked him # 27 on its 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time list.

Knotts began his career performing in many venues, including a ventriloquist act with a dummy named Danny "Hooch" Matador. In a TV Guide interview in the 1970s, he spoke about how, when he was in the Army, he was getting tired of playing straight man for a hunk of wood. According to Knotts, while on a ship in the South Pacific, he took the dummy topside and tossed him overboard. He swore he could hear the dummy calling for help as the ship sailed on, leaving him bobbing helplessly in the waves.

Knotts got his first major break on television in the soap opera Search for Tomorrow where he appeared from 1953 to 1955. He came to fame in 1956 on Steve Allen's variety show, as part of Allen's repertory company, most notably in Allen's mock "Man in the Street" interviews, always as an extremely nervous man. In 1958, Knotts appeared in the film No Time for Sergeants alongside Andy Griffith.