Knotts, Don 1924–2006

views updated Jun 11 2018

KNOTTS, Don 1924–2006


Original name, Jesse Donald Knotts; born July 21, 1924, in Morgantown, WV; son of William Jesse and Elsie (maiden name, Moore) Knotts; died February 24, 2006, in Beverly Hills, CA; married Kathryn "Kay" Metz, December 27, 1947 (divorced, c. 1964 or 1969); married Loralee Czuchna, October 12, 1974 (divorced, 1983); children: (first marriage) Karen Ann (an actress), Thomas Allen. Education: West Virginia University, B.A., 1948; earned a teaching degree; also attended the University of Arizona.

Addresses: Manager—Randy Bash, BNB Associates, Ltd., 8688 East Corrine Dr., Scottsdale, AZ 85260.

Career: Actor, comedian, and writer. Performer in a comedy tour with actor Tim Conway and performer at various venues. Worked as a ventriloquist early in his career. Appeared in commercials and at collectors' shows. Also worked as a chicken plucker. Military service: U.S. Army, served during World War II, including a performance as a comedian in the variety show Stars and Gripes; served in the South Pacific; received a World War II victory medal, Philippine liberation medal, Asiatic Pacific campaign medal (with four bronze stars), good conduct medal, marksman badge (with carbine bar), and an honorable service lapel pin.

Member: Phi Sigma Kappa.

Awards, Honors: Emmy awards, outstanding performance by an actor in a supporting role, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1966, and 1967, all for The Andy Griffith Show; nomination for Golden Laurel, top male new face, Laurel awards, Producers Guild of America, 1964; nomination for Golden Laurel, outstanding male comedy performance, 1967, for The Reluctant Astronaut; Don Knotts Boulevard named in his honor in Morgantown, WV, 1998; received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, 2000.


Television Appearances; Series:

Wilbur Peterson, Search for Tomorrow, CBS, 1953–55.

Tim Tremble, Howdy Doody, NBC, beginning 1954.

Mr. Morrison, The Steve Allen Show (also known as The Steve Allen Plymouth Show), NBC, 1959–60.

Barney Fife, The Andy Griffith Show (also known as Andy of Mayberry), CBS, 1960–65.

Member of ensemble, The New Steve Allen Show, ABC, 1961.

Host, The Don Knotts Show, NBC, 1970–71.

Multiple roles, Laugh Back (also known as Steve Allen's "Laugh Back" and Steve Allen's "Laughback"), syndicated, 1976.

Ralph Furley, Three's Company, ABC, 1979–84.

Principal F. Jerry "Bud" McPherson, What a Country!, syndicated, 1986–87.

Les "Ace" Calhoun, Matlock, NBC, c. 1988–90.

Voice of vice principal Lamar Bone, Doug (animated; also known as Brand Spanking New! Doug and Disney's "Doug"), Nickelodeon and The Disney Channel, beginning c. 1996.

Also appeared in The Garry Moore Show, CBS.

Television Appearances; Movies:

Alexander Archer, I Love a Mystery, NBC, 1973.

Narrator, The Spooky Fog, CBS, 1974.

Barney Fife, Return to Mayberry, NBC, 1986.

The Love Boat: Who Killed Maxwell Thorn?, ABC, 1987.

Governor Healy, Quints, The Disney Channel, 2000.

Voice of Mutt Potter, Tom Sawyer (animated musical), The Nashville Network, 2000.

Television Appearances; Specials:

The Don Knotts Special, CBS, 1967.

Looking Back, CBS, 1969.

Host, The Don Knotts Nice, Clean, Decent, Wholesome Hour, CBS, 1970.

Dr. Bradley, "The Man Who Came to Dinner," Hallmark Hall of Fame, NBC, 1972.

Narrator, Guess Who's Knott Coming to Dinner?, CBS, 1973.

Dinah Shore: In Search of the Ideal Man, NBC, 1973.

Glenn Ford's Summertime, U.S.A., syndicated, 1973.

The Many Faces of Comedy, ABC, 1973.

Joys (also known as Bob Hope Special: Bob Hope in "Joys"), NBC, 1976.

Guest, Alan King's Final Warning, ABC, 1977.

The Captain and Tennille in Hawaii, ABC, 1978.

Cinderella at the Palace, CBS, 1978.

Bob Hope Special: Bob Hope's All-Star Birthday Party, NBC, 1979.

Las Vegas: Palace of Stars, CBS, 1979.

Stand Up and Cheer for the National Football League's Sixtieth Year (also known as Bob Hope's "Stand Up and Cheer for the National Football League's Sixtieth Year"), NBC, 1981.

Voice of Prince Bu, The Little Troll Prince (animated), 1985.

An All-Star Tribute to General Jimmy Doolittle, syndicated, 1986.

30 Years of Andy: A Mayberry Reunion, TNT, 1990.

Voice of Titus the squirrel, Timmy's Gift: A Precious Moments Christmas (animated), NBC, 1991.

Hats Off to America, syndicated, 1992.

The Andy Griffith Show Reunion, CBS, 1993.

More of the Best of the Hollywood Palace, ABC, 1993.

Comic Relief VII, HBO, 1995.

Voice of Kris, Jingle Bells (animated), 1999.

Himself, E! Entertainment Special: Who Let the Dog Out?, E! Entertainment Television, 2002.

Voice, The Griffin and the Minor Canon (animated), PBS, 2002.

Voice of Wormie, Hermie: A Common Caterpillar (animated), 2003.

The Andy Griffith Show Reunion: Back to Mayberry, CBS, 2003.

Voice of Wormie, Hermie & Friends (animated), 2004.

Television Appearances; Awards Presentations:

The 15th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, 1963.

Presenter, The 38th Annual Academy Awards, ABC, 1966.

The Television Academy Hall of Fame, NBC, 1986.

The First 13th Annual Fancy Anvil Award Show Program Special … Live!… in Stereo (also known as The First 13th Annual Cartoon Network Fancy Anvil Award Show Program Special … Live!… in Stereo), Cartoon Network, 2002.

TV Land Awards: A Celebration of Classic TV (also known as First Annual TV Land Awards), TV Land, 2003.

The Second Annual TV Land Awards: A Celebration of Classic TV, TV Land, 2004.

Paul Young in "Desperate Classic Housewives" skit, The Third Annual TV Land Awards: A Celebration of Classic TV, TV Land, 2005.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Manual dexterity corporal John C. Brown, "No Time for Sergeants," The United States Steel Hour, CBS, 1955.

"Bob and Schultzy at Sea," Love That Bob (also known as The Bob Cummings Show), NBC, 1958.

"Rock-a-Bye Dobie," The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (also known as Dobie Gillis), CBS, 1960.

Guest, The Danny Kaye Show, CBS, c. 1963.

The Andy Williams Show, NBC, 1963, 1967, 1969.

Barney Fife, "Joey's Hideaway Cabin," The Joey Bishop Show, NBC, 1964.

Guest, The Hollywood Palace, ABC, 1964, 1968.

Barney Fife, "The Legend of Barney Fife," The Andy Griffith Show, CBS, 1966.

Barney Fife, "The Return of Barney Fife," The Andy Griffith Show, CBS, 1966.

Himself, American Bandstand (also known as Bandstand), ABC, 1966.

McHale's Navy, ABC, 1966.

Curly Kid, "The Reason Nobody Hardly Ever Seen a Fat Outlaw in the Old West Is As Follows …," Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theater, NBC, 1967.

Barney Fife, "Barney Comes to Mayberry," The Andy Griffith Show, CBS, 1967.

Barney Fife, "A Visit to Barney Fife," The Andy Griffith Show, CBS, 1967.

Barney Fife, "Andy and Helen Get Married," Mayberry, R.F.D., CBS, 1968.

Barney Fife, "Barney Hosts a Summit Meeting," The Andy Griffith Show, CBS, 1968.

Guest, The Leslie Uggams Show, CBS, 1969.

Leo Swann, "Swann's Way," The Bill Cosby Show, NBC, 1970.

Host, The Hollywood Palace, ABC, 1970.

Himself, Make Your Own Kind of Music!, NBC, 1971.

Voice, "Guess Who's Knott Coming to Dinner," The New Scooby-Doo Movies (animated), CBS, 1972.

Voice, "The Spooky Fog," The New Scooby-Doo Movies (animated), CBS, 1972.

Guest, The Flip Wilson Show, NBC, 1972, 1973.

Ben Fletcher, "Lucy Goes on Her Last Blind Date," Here's Lucy, CBS, 1973.

Voice, "The Bumbling Beekeeper," Wait Till Your Father Gets Home (animated), syndicated, 1974.

"The Not-So-Good Humanitarian," The Girl with Something Extra, NBC, 1974.

Guest, The Captain & Tennille, ABC, 1976.

Premiere episode, The Late Summer Early Fall Bert Convy Show, CBS, 1976.

Guest, The Muppet Show, syndicated, 1977.

Stanley Scheckter, "The Common Man," Fantasy Island, ABC, 1978.

Felix Birdsong, "The Casting Director," Fantasy Island, ABC, 1979.

Herb Grobecker, "Crew Confessions/Haven't I Seen You?/Reunion," The Love Boat, ABC, 1979.

Himself, "Disaster at Buzz Creek," George Burns Comedy Week, CBS, 1985.

Voice of male M.A.D. agent, "Ghost Catchers," Inspector Gadget (animated), syndicated, 1985.

Moe, "Hair," She's the Sheriff, syndicated, 1988.

(Uncredited) Iron, "Seein' Double," Newhart, CBS, 1990.

Les "Ace" Calhoun, "The Accident," Matlock, NBC, 1991.

Les "Ace" Calhoun, "The Picture: Parts 1 & 2," Matlock, NBC, 1991.

Les "Ace" Calhoun, "The Assassination: Part 1," Matlock, NBC, 1992.

Deputy Fife, "Christmas," Step by Step, ABC, 1993.

Guest, The Late Show with David Letterman (also known as The Late Show), CBS, c. 1993.

Doc Atkins, "Who Killed Good Time Charlie?," Burke's Law, CBS, 1994.

Himself, "Andy Griffith: Hollywood's Homespun Hero," Biography (also known as A & E Biography: Andy Griffith), Arts and Entertainment, 1997.

Voice of dog catcher, "Shake, Rattle, and Wood/Cadpig behind Bars," 101 Dalmatians: The Series (animated), syndicated, 1997.

Himself, Three's Company: The E! True Hollywood Story, E! Entertainment Network, 1998.

Himself, "Ron Howard: Hollywood's Favorite Son," Biography (also known as A & E Biography: Ron Howard), Arts and Entertainment, 1999.

Guest, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, NBC, 1999.

Himself, "The Andy Griffith Show," Inside TV Land, TV Land, 2000.

Himself, "Don Knotts: Nervous Laughter," Biography (also known as A & E Biography: Don Knotts), Arts and Entertainment, 2000.

(In archive footage) Andy of Mayberry: The E! True Hollywood Story, E! Entertainment Television, 2000.

Himself, "John Ritter: In Good Company," Biography (also known as A & E Biography: John Ritter), Arts and Entertainment, 2002.

Inside TV Land: Cops on Camera, TV Land, 2002.

Himself, "Come and Knock on Our Door," 8 Simple Rules … for Dating My Teenage Daughter (also known as 8 Simple Rules), ABC, 2003.

Guest, Larry King Live, Cable News Network, 2003.

Dirk Douglas, "American Wiener," Odd Job Jack, The Comedy Network (Canada), c. 2003.

TV Land's Top Ten, TV Land, c. 2004.

Himself, "Hit Me!," Las Vegas (also known as Casino Eye), NBC, 2005.

Landlord, "Stone Cold Crazy," That '70s Show, Fox, 2005.

Voice of himself, "Operation Rich in Spirit," Robot Chicken (animated), Cartoon Network, 2005.

Voice of Mr. Mauzer, "The Second Family," Fatherhood (animated), Nickelodeon, 2005.

Television Appearances; Pilots:

(Uncredited) Barney Fife, The New Andy Griffith Show, CBS, 1971.

Harry Kellogg, Harry and Maggie, CBS, 1975.

Dr. Donald Piper, Piper's Pets, NBC, 1979.

Film Appearances:

Manual dexterity corporal John C. Brown, No Time for Sergeants, Warner Bros., 1958.

Sergeant Warren, Wake Me When It's Over, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1960.

Captain Harry Little, The Last Time I Saw Archie, United Artists, 1961.

Nervous motorist, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, United Artists, 1963.

Shoe clerk, Move Over, Darling, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1963.

Henry Limpet, The Incredible Mr. Limpet (live action and animated), Warner Bros., 1964.

Luther Heggs, The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, Universal, 1966.

Roy Fleming, The Reluctant Astronaut, Universal, 1967.

Dr. Jesse W. Heywood, The Shakiest Gun in the West, Universal, 1968.

Himself, Rowan & Martin at the Movies, 1968.

Abner Audubon Peacock IV, The Love God?, Universal, 1969.

Hollis Alexander Figg, How to Frame a Figg, Universal, 1970.

Theodore Ogilvie, The Apple Dumpling Gang, Buena Vista, 1975.

Bert Delaney, No Deposit, No Return (also known as Double Trouble), Buena Vista, 1976.

Coach Venner, Gus, Buena Vista, 1976.

Wheely Applegate, Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, Buena Vista, 1977.

Mulefeathers (also known as Mule Feathers and The West Is Still Wild), B.A.M. Productions, 1977.

Sheriff Denver Kid, Hot Lead, Cold Feet, Buena Vista, 1978.

Shake, The Prizefighter, New World, 1979.

Theodore Ogelvie, The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again, Buena Vista, 1979.

Inspector Winship, The Private Eyes, New World, 1980.

California Highway Patrol officer, Cannonball Run II, Warner Bros., 1984.

Voice of Gee Willikers, Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night (animated), New World, 1987.

Principal Kokelar, Big Bully, Warner Bros., 1996.

Voice of T. W. Turtle, Cats Don't Dance (animated musical), Warner Bros., 1997.

Television repairperson, Pleasantville (also known as Color of Heart), New Line Cinema, 1998.

Voice of Mayor Turkey Lurkey, Chicken Little (animated), Buena Vista, 2005.

Heart of Love, Artisan Entertainment, c. 2005.

Stage Appearances:

Manual dexterity corporal John C. Brown and preacher, No Time for Sergeants, Alvin Theatre, New York City, 1955–57.

Last of the Red Hot Lovers, San Diego, CA, 1971.

Title role, Harvey, Stage West, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, 1995.

You Can't Take It with You, New Theatre Restaurant, Overland Park, KS, 1996.

Norman, Is That You?, Mahaffey Theatre, St. Petersburg, FL, 1997.

On Golden Pond, New Theatre Restaurant, 2003.

Appeared in other productions, including A Good Look at Boney Kern, Albuquerque, NM; and Mind with the Dirty Man.

Radio Appearances; Series:

Windy Wales, Bobby Benson and the B Bar Bs, Mutual Radio, between 1949 and 1955.



Voice of Wormie, Hermie & Friends: Flo the Lyin' Fly (animated), Tommy Nelson, 2004.

Voice of Wormie, Hermie & Friends: Webster the Scaredy Spider (animated), Tommy Nelson, 2004.

Voice of Wormie, Hermie & Friends: Buzby, the Misbehaving Bee (animated), Tommy Nelson, 2005.

Voice of Wormie, Hermie & Friends: A Fruitcake Christmas (animated), Tommy Nelson, 2005.

Video Games:

Voice of the groundskeeper, Scooby-Doo: Night of 100 Frights, THQ, 2002.



(Author of story) How to Frame a Figg, Universal, 1970.

The Barney Fife Guide to Life, Love, and Self-Defense, 1993.

Teleplays; Specials:

The Don Knotts Nice, Clean, Decent, Wholesome Hour, CBS, 1970.


(With Robert Metz) Barney Fife and Other Characters I Have Known, Berkley Boulevard Publishing, 1999.



Entertainment Weekly, October 23, 1998, pp. 40-42.

Starlog, August, 1996, pp. 60-61.

TV Guide, November 8, 2003, pp. 18-19.


Don Knotts Official Web Site,, January 9, 2006.

Knotts, Don 1924–2006

views updated May 18 2018

Knotts, Don 1924–2006


Original name, Jesse Donald Knotts; born July 21, 1924, in Morgantown, WV; died of complications from lung cancer, February 24, 2006, in Beverly Hills, CA. Actor, comedian, and writer. Known for his comedic portrayals of affable yet somewhat dimwitted characters, Knotts worked in the entertainment industry for half a century. His most recognized characters included bumbling Deputy Barney Fife in The Andy Griffith Show, a role that garnered Knotts five Emmy Awards, and lascivious landlord Ralph Furley in Three's Company. Knotts began his career as a ventriloquist and appeared in his first television series, the soap opera Search for Tomorrow, from 1953 to 1955. It was the only dramatic role in his career. He appeared as a regular in The Steve Allen Show before landing his seminal role in The Andy Griffith Show, which ran for five seasons, from 1960 to 1965. Knotts also hosted his own variety show and in the late 1980s appeared with former costar Andy Griffith in the series Matlock. Knotts' film career reflected his love of lighthearted humor. He appeared in such films as It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, the animated and live action film The Incredible Mr. Limpet, The Reluctant Astronaut, and The Apple Dumpling Gang. Knotts' final film performance was as the voice of Mayor Turkey Lurkey in the animated film Chicken Little. Knotts was also a writer. He wrote the screenplay The Barney Fife Guide to Life, Love, and Self-Defense in 1993 as well as a memoir, Barney Fife and Other Characters I Have Known, published in 1999.



Broadcasting & Cable, March 6, 2006.

Entertainment Weekly, March 10, 2006.

Newsweek, March 10, 2006.

People Weekly, March 10, 2006.

Variety, March 6, 2006.

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