Don Knotts life and biography

Don Knotts picture, image, poster

Don Knotts biography

Date of birth : 1924-07-21
Date of death : 2006-02-24
Birthplace : Morgantown, West Virginia, U.S.
Nationality : Australian
Category : Famous Figures
Last modified : 2011-09-06
Credited as : comedian actor, Barney Fife , Emmy Awards

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Jesse Donald, better known as "Don" Knotts, was 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 television sitcom Three's Company.
Born in 1924 in Morgantown, West Virginia, Knotts grew up poor alongside three older brothers. As a child, he was unhappy and self-conscious about his lean-limbed appearance. He had a brother who was so thin family members called him "Shadow." Knotts took an early interest in acting, due in part to his mother's fascination with the new "talking" movies of the late 1920s, which she took Knotts to see. Knotts began performing in his teens, developing a ventriloquist routine alongside a dummy named Danny. He enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving as an entertainer in the Pacific in the early 1940s and earning a World War II Victory Medal before his discharge.

Next, Knotts studied speech at West Virginia University. After graduating in 1948, Knotts put $100 in his pocket and bummed a ride to New York hoping to act. He auditioned for radio gigs and spent the early 1950s playing a know-it-all geezer handyman on the children's radio western Bobby Benson and the B-Bar-B Riders . Knotts also landed television roles and appeared on Search for Tomorrow from 1953 to 1955. On this CBS soap, Knotts played a maladjusted young man so unstable he refused to communicate with anyone but his sister. This was Knotts' first—and only non-comedic role of his career.
Knotts generated a buzz in 1955 playing a fussy military evaluator on Broadway in the Ira Levin comedy No Time for Sergeants . One of the recruits Knotts' character evaluated in the play was a hillbilly draftee played by a little-known actor named Andy Griffith. From 1956 to 1960, Knotts appeared regularly on NBC's The Steve Allen Show as a character named Mr. Morrison, the "nervous man." The routine generally featured Morrison being interviewed "live" on the street. Knotts' character was clearly nervous and agitated about the situation. Whenever Allen asked him if he was nervous, his eyes would pop out, yet he would answer with a quivery "nope" that set the crowd howling. The routine made him famous.
Knotts and Griffith teamed up again for the 1958 feature film version of No Time for Sergeants . The pair kept in touch and when Griffith signed on to play rural sheriff Andy Taylor on The Andy Griffith Show , Knotts tagged along and became his bumbling sidekick and deputy, Barney Fife. The role was not included in the series pilot, set in the fictional town of Mayberry, North Carolina. When Knotts joined the show, he was supposed to blend in as part of Griffith's entourage. Soon after the CBS comedy debuted in 1960, however, Knotts's bumbling manic energy stole the show. Writers reworked Griffith's role, turning him into the calm, straightlaced Sheriff Taylor who spent his time rescuing Deputy Fife from the mishaps of his own making.
Using sight gags, writers capitalized on Knotts' mastery of physical comedy, creating a show that stayed in the Top 10 every year during its eight-year run. Fife was an invariable misfit who carried in his pocket the one bullet Sheriff Taylor allotted him after he accidently shot himself in the foot. Whenever Fife tried to load the bullet, he fumbled the task. Often, he accidently locked himself in a jail cell. Though the show originally aired more than 45 years ago, it has enjoyed a loyal following on the cable network TV Land. There are also numerous websites devoted to the show, including BarneyFife. com, which discusses "Barneyisms" and addresses the moral lessons taught by the character. According to the Los Angeles Times , during a 2000 interview, Knotts discussed how he developed the beloved character: "Mainly, I thought of Barney as a kid. You can always look into the faces of kids and see what they're thinking, if they're happy or sad. That's what I tried to do with Barney. It's very identifiable."

Knotts left the show in 1965 to work on the big screen and became a reliable comedy draw of the 1960s, starring in a number of G-rated family films. He starred in 1964's half-cartoon, half live-action feature The Incredible Mr. Limpet , which tells the story of a timid clerk who, rejected by the Navy, turns into a fish. Other films included 1966's The Ghost and Mr. Chicken , 1967's The Reluctant Astronaut , 1968's The Shakiest Gun in the West , and 1969's The Love God? . By the early 1970s, Knotts found a place starring in Disney's live-action features. He played a hopeless Old West bandit, alongside Tim Conway, in 1975's The Apple Dumpling Gang . He also starred as a wannabe safe-cracker in 1976's No Deposit, No Return , and as a football coach in Gus , which tells the story of a field-goal-kicking mule. Knotts also played auto-racing veteran Wheely Applegate in 1977's Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo .

Knotts returned to television in 1979, playing the leisure-suit-loving landlord Ralph Furley on the ABC sitcom Three's Company alongside the late John Ritter. He stayed on until the series ended in 1984. Knotts also made guest appearances with a recurring role on Griffith's courtroom drama Matlock , which ran from 1986 to 1995. Knotts made a cameo appearance in the 1998 movie Pleasantville , playing a TV repairman who gives two teens a special remote control that transports them into the innocent black-and-white world of 1950s television sitcoms. He also lent his voice to the 2005 Disney film Chicken Little , playing Mayor Turkey Lurkey.
Over the course of his career, Knotts married several times. Around 1947, he married Kathryn Kay Metz and had two children. They divorced in the 1960s. He later married and divorced Loralee Czuchna. In 2002, he married actress Francey Yarborough. Knotts died of lung cancer on February 24, 2006, in Los Angeles, California. He was 81. Survivors include his wife, his daughter, Karen; and his son, Thomas.

Film:
No Time for Sergeants (1958)
Wake Me When It's Over (1960)
The Last Time I Saw Archie (1961)
It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) (cameo)
Move Over, Darling (1963)
The Incredible Mr. Limpet (1964)
The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (1966)
The Reluctant Astronaut (1967)
Rowan & Martin at the Movies (1968)
The Shakiest Gun in the West (1968)
The Love God? (1969)
How to Frame a Figg (1971)
Dinah Shore: In Search of the Ideal Man (1973) TV
The Apple Dumpling Gang (1975)
No Deposit, No Return (1976)
Gus (1976)
Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977)
Hot Lead and Cold Feet (1978)
The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again (1979)
The Prize Fighter (1979)
The Private Eyes (1981)
Cannonball Run II (1984)
Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night (1987)
Comic Relief VII (1995) himself
Big Bully (1996)
Cats Don't Dance (1997)
Pleasantville (1998)
Tom Sawyer (2000)
Chicken Little (2005)
Air Buddies (2006)

Television:
Search for Tomorrow (1953-1955)
The Steve Allen Show (1956-1960)
The Mary Moore Show (4 episodes 1962-1964)
McHale's Navy (Season 4, Episode 25)
The Joey Bishop Show (TV series) (1961-1965) (1 episode 1964)
The Red Skelton Show (TV series) (5 episodes 1951-1971), (1961-1965)
The Andy Griffith Show (1960-1965, 1966, 1967)
The New Steve Allen Show (1961-1963)
The Jerry Lewis Show (1 episode 1963)
38th Academy Awards (1966) (TV)
The Don Knotts Special (1967) (TV)
The Hollywood Palace (1 episode #7.17 1970)
The Don Knotts Show (1970-1971)
The Man Who Came to Dinner (1972)
The New Scooby-Doo Movies 2 episodes (1972)
The Flip Wilson Show (1970-74) (TV) (2 episodes 1972-1973)
I Love a Mystery (1973)
Here's Lucy (TV series) (1968-1974) (1 episode 1973)
The Hollywood Squares 4 episodes (1974-1977)
Steve Allen's Laugh Back (1975)
No Deposit, No Return (1976) With Darren McGavin
The Muppet Show (1977) (guest star)
Fantasy Island (1978-1979)
Three's Company (1979-1984)
The Little Troll Prince (1985)
George Burns Comedy Week (1985)
Return to Mayberry (1986)
Johnny Bravo (episode 4.13A)
Matlock (1987-1995)
What a Country (1987)
Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night (1987)
Newhart (TV series) (1982-1990) (1 episode Iron 1990)
Timmy's Gift: A Precious Moments Christmas (1991)
Andy Griffith Show Reunion (1993) (TV)
Burke's Law 1 episode 1994
Cats Don't Dance (1997) (Voice)
Step by Step (TV series) (1991-1998)
E! True Hollywood Story
Late Night with Conan O' Brien (1 episode 1999)
Jingle Bells (1999)
Quints (2000)
Inside TV Land: The Andy Griffith Show (2000)
Biography TV Documentary (1987-present)
Biography John Ritter:In good company (2002)
Inside TV Land: Cops on Camera (2002)
Hermie: A Common Caterpillar (2003)
Odd Job Jack (2003)
8 Simple Rules For Dating My Teenage Daughter (2003)
Larry King Live (TV series) (1985-present) (1 episode 2003)
The Andy Griffith Show Reunion Back to Mayberry (2003) (TV)
Hermie and Friends (2004)
TV Lands Top Ten (2004)
That '70s Show (2005)
Las Vegas (2005)
The 3rd Annual TV Land Awards (2005) (TV)
Robot Chicken (cartoon series) (2005-present) (2005 cartoon)
Hatching Chicken Little (2006)
CMT: The Greatest - 20 Greatest Country Comedy Shows (2006)

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