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Farewell to Fife

By Rachael Esman
On February 28, 2006

It was announced yesterday that one of America's legendary actors has passed away. On Feb. 24, 2006, Don Knotts died of respiratory and pulmonary complications.

Born on July 21, 1924, Jesse Donald Knotts was the youngest of four boys. He got his start in entertainment as a ventriloquist, performing at parties and other small events in his hometown of Morgantown, W.Va. After experiencing some success and completing high school, Knotts decided to move to New York City and started his career in show business. Unfortunately, he only lasted for a few weeks so he decided to return home and attend college. Soon after, World War II came knocking on the door and he enlisted in the Army.

While he was there, Knotts was assigned to the Special Branches Unit where he tried to lift the morality of the troops with his entertainment. It was during this time that he gave up on being a ventriloquist and converted to straight comedy.

After being demobilized from the Army, he returned to college and got a degree in theater. He then got married and moved back to New York City. This is when his career really took off. Knotts became a regular for the soap opera "Search for Tomorrow."

However, Don Knotts is probably most remembered for his role in "The Andy Griffith Show." He was Deputy Barney Fife from 1960 to 1968 in this popular TV show.

He was also the deputy in "The New Andy Griffith Show" in 1971.

Some of the other roles that Knotts played include Henry Limpet in "The Incredible Mr. Limpet," Lether Heggs in "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken," the host of "The Don Knott's Show," a guest appearance on "The Bill Cosby Show," Wheely Applegat in "Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo," several appearances on "Fantasy Island," guest appearances on "The Love Boat," Ralph Furley in "Three's Company" from 1979 to 1984, "Inspector Gadget" in the 1983 TV series, several guest appearances on "Matlock" from 1988 to 1992 and his latest work in "Chicken Little."

Don Knotts is legendary in every sense of the word and he will be greatly missed. He has left his mark on show business and will never be forgotten. His years of experience have taught us so much. The entertainment industry has experienced a great loss with his death.

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