Atlanta, GA (July 3, 2012)  Rodney Dillard and Maggie Peterson have both issued statements regarding the death of actor Andy Griffith who died today in Dare County, North Carolina.  Both appeared as part of the Darling family on The Andy Griffith Show in the ‘60s.

Rodney Dillard on guitar with The Dillards, 1962 – Andy Griffith Show

 “Andy Griffith became more than an icon.  He represented American family values and has given comfort and hope in these uncertain times.  He gave The Dillards (The Darlings) an opportunity to be part of this.  Andy was kind, generous and patient with an inexperienced group of pickers from the Ozark Mountains.  Andy Griffith’s impact on the world will last forever,” said Rodney Dillard.  Rodney appeared in six episodes of The Andy Griffith Show (1963-1966), Return to Mayberry TV movie (1986) and composer of the Andy Griffith Show Reunion TV special (1993). 

 Maggie Peterson, who played the role of Charlene Darling on The Andy Griffith Show (1963-1968), kept in contact with Andy throughout the years.  Today in a tearful statement, she said “The passing of Andy leaves me so saddened.  It feels like the presence that kept us steady in life is now gone.   The Darling family was treated with such respect on the show.  These could have been ridiculous characters without Andy’s respectful reaction to us.  Everyone will truly miss him.  Thank God we have those beautiful episodes to keep us company.   He enhanced my life and I will miss him so.”

 In 1962, The Dillards, who had a new recording contract with Elektra Records, were asked by the producers of The Andy Griffith Show to play a bluegrass-playing family (The Darlings), whose patriarch was to played by popular Hollywood actor Denver Pyle… and to this day The Dillards are seen nearly every day somewhere in the world thanks to the still enormous popularity of The Andy Griffith Show re-runs.  Rodney Dillard wrote and collaborated with others to write such classic songs as “There Is A Time”, “The Darlin’ Boys”, “Ebo Walker”, and “Dooley.”

Rodney & Beverly Dillard at IBMA 2011

Rodney Dillard is still active in the Bluegrass Community and attends the IBMA Conference in Nashville every year. In 2010, Rodney released the album entitled, I Wish Life Was Like Mayberry.

- Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridge@hotmail.com

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