No two countries are the same, and this is especially true when it comes to food. While one country may chow down on their native and traditional dishes, another country might turn their noses up at it. However, that doesn’t mean we always stick to what we know. Sometimes we like to try new cuisines and experience what life is like elsewhere in the world. Known for its fish and chips, bangers and mash, and roast dinners, England certainly stands out in the foodie world. However, a new London restaurant in New York City hasn’t exactly gone down too well…
The Bluebird London
If you’ve ever been to London, you’ll know that the Bluebird restaurant in London is a huge success. Located in the prestigious area of Chelsea, it’s often full to the brim with high-paying celebrities and socialites who want to experience the delicious food. Thanks to the popularity of this restaurant, the owners decided to expand their reign and cross the pond to New York City. They opened up a new restaurant in the Time Warner Centre last September, and they were ready to welcome their customers with open arms.
The Unique Selling Point
The D&D Bluebird London international team hoped that their unique selling point would put them a cut above the rest. After all, this restaurant offers traditional British cuisine to those who may not have tried it before. Unfortunately, it seems as though it’s fallen short of their targets, and critics have not held back when it comes to giving this place a review. In fact, one particular critic wrote his review for the New York Times, and titled his piece as: “What if Brexit was a restaurant.”
Finding The Negatives
The New York Times restaurant critic, Pete Wells, didn’t have to look too far to find the negatives of the Bluebird. He noted that he did not like the layout of the restaurant in general, but it was the food that really struggled to impress him. The menu itself was like trying to complete a “puzzle,” and when the food arrived, he found that it lacked any authenticity or star quality. In particular, he confessed that his Beef Wellington (which cost him $95) was coated in a “mass of wet, gluey dough.”
While most critics have given the Bluebird zero stars, paying customers have rated it with three stars on Yelp.
The whistling tune of The Fishing Hole is almost symbolic of the 1960s sitcom The Andy Griffith Show. It is still remembered as one of the best sitcoms from that era, which evokes a sense of nostalgia for sitcoms, among fans from all across the US. Andy Griffith is one of those versatile personalities in the industry, who earned a lot more popularity and respect in real-life, than any branded award can give. From Mayberry to Matlock, he never failed to win our hearts time and time again with his wit and wisdom. Let’s have a look at the incredible life journey of this beloved superstar.
Born in Poverty
Born in North Carolina, Andy Griffith was an only child. Things weren’t easy for Griffith from the very beginning, as he faced a troubled upbringing. His parents were poor, and he had to live with his relatives until his parents were able to save enough money to afford a house.
Even baby Griffith was forced to sleep in a dresser drawer for months, as his parents were not able to afford an extra cot or a crib. As they say, diamonds are truly found in coals!
The Future Star
When Griffith was three years old, his father started to work as a carpenter and gradually managed to buy a family home in an industrial neighborhood. Young Griffith grew up listening to various kinds of music. In school, he was the shyest and most introverted boy in his class.
Griffith gradually started to come out of his shell, and found some entertaining way to make his classmates laugh. This behavioral change led Griffith to get participate in school plays. Landing him several roles, the future star was in the making!
The Musical Man
Griffith was a musical man all along. He learned to play the trombone, while still at school. His love of music led him to attend the University of North Carolina to study music.
Griffith earned his Bachelor of Music degree in 1949. While in university, he performed in many plays, honing his acting skills. After graduation, Griffith joined a high school in North Carolina as a music teacher. He taught music and drama there for several years.
Changing the Path
After years of teaching, Griffith and his then-wife, Barbara Edwards, decided to make a change in their lives. Barbara was an actress at the time. She and Griffith finally decided to break free and try their luck in the entertainment industry.
The creative pair formed a routine that allowed them to travel around. They combined singing and dancing, as well as monologues read by Griffith himself. Leaving the comfortable life behind to start something passionate is quite challenging, but Griffith reaped his reward soon!
The First Limelight
One particular monologue from his repertoire, named “What it Was, Was Football”, told the story of a person trying to figure out what a football game is all about. In 1953, the monologue was released, under the same name, by Colonial Records. The single became an instant hit!
It also became one of the most popular comedy monologues in history. The success of the single led the Griffith couple to move to the entertainment hotspot of that time, New York, in 1954. He became a guest monologist on the popular Ed Sullivan Show.
Apart From the Crowd
In 1957, Griffith made his film debut in A Face in the Crowd. He starred together with Larry Rhodes. Griffith played the role of a manipulative and power-hungry country boy with skilled perfection.
The film initially got mixed reviews from critics. But, its popularity grew in the following years, even decades after its release. In 2008, the film was added to the preservation list of the US National Film Registry.
Making Room for the Star
Griffith made a guest appearance on the 1960 sitcom Make Room for Daddy. He played the role of a small-town mayor. The minor role turned out to be big for Griffith, as it landed him his own eponymous sitcom — the classic The Andy Griffith Show.
In the show, Griffith played the legendary role of Andy Taylor, a kind-hearted widower sheriff of the fictional small town Mayberry, North Carolina. The show was an instant hit. Griffith worked with the scriptwriters, but he was never credited for it.
The First Splash
The opening credit of the show is probably the most memorable scene. In the scene, Andy and his young son, Opie, were heading out to fish — with the famed theme song, The Fishing Hole, whistling in the background. It was filmed in Franklyn Canyon Park.
Ronny Howard, who played Opie, was just six. He was unable to throw the stone into the lake far enough, as it was needed according to the script. Finally, a prop man was deployed to do the scene, while the young actor pretended to do it on camera.
The Frenemy Factor
The show allowed Griffith to work alongside his longtime friend and actor, Don Knotts, who played the part of Deputy Sheriff Barney Fife. These two on and off-screen best friends took the nation by storm by their on-screen comic chemistry.
However, Knotts quit the show after five seasons, being denied any ownership and profit share, which Griffith had from the start. On the other hand, Griffith was never nominated for an Emmy Award throughout the entire time of the super hit show, while Knott won five Emmys for his role.
Friendship as the Final Award
The stage was set for what seemed to be an inevitable feud between the two friends. But, the two made up soon. Griffith also confessed that initially he was chosen for the role of Barney, but Knotts was way better suited.
Like true friends, the two men were eventually happy for each other’s success, preferring not to allow any professional jealousy to come in between them. This resulted in a lifelong friendship, literally. Griffith was apparently present at Knotts’ bedside, on the day of his passing in 2006.
Griffith was rumored to have had a romantic affair with his on-screen partner, Aneta Corsaut. Corsaut played the role of school teacher Helen Crump, who later went on to become the Mayberry sheriff’s wife on the first episode of the 1968 spinoff show, Mayberry R.F.D.
This rumor hampered his marriage. He was reportedly spotted with Corsaut in a compromising position in his room on the set, by a crew member. Though the specific reason was never disclosed, Griffith left his wife of 23 years, Barbara Edwards, in 1972.
The End of an Era
The success of the show opened several new doors for Griffith, enabling him to take his acting career further. Though the show was renewed for another season, Griffith decided not to continue anymore and to pursue a film career instead.
The Andy Griffith Show retained its popularity, running for 11 seasons in total. Unlike any other show, it ended while being at the top of the Nielsen’s Ratings. But, it never left TV! To satisfy the heartbroken audience, the show was played in reruns for a whopping 51 years!
The Mayberry Day
A small town in North Carolina decided to celebrate Mayberry Day. Griffith made this possible! A North Carolina town Mount Airy has been organizing annual Mayberry Days since the show aired. This town is said to be the inspiration for the fictional Mayberry.
Every year, on the last week of September, the town hosts a range of public events, where participants enjoy a parade and even listen to the music from that time. Some special guests are also invited. Since the actor’s passing, a moment of silence is also observed.
The Emerging Movie Star
After the show, Griffith landed lead roles in a number of TV films like Winter Kill, Savages, The Strangers in 7A. By acting in these films, Griffith was hoping to direct his acting career towards the big screen during most of the 1970s.
Ultimately, it was his portrayal as a father that brought him greater fame. In Murder in Texas, Griffith gave a memorable performance as Ash Robinson, which brought his first and only Primetime Emmy nomination. In 1983, he again earned great reviews for his villainous character of John Wallace in Murder in Coweta County.
Not everything went smoothly as he had perhaps hoped after his career change. He never left the small screen, though. After the ratings of Headmaster began to decline, Griffith tried to regain success by doing what he was always good at.
In 1971, he starred in The New Andy Griffith Show as Andy Sawyer. The show featured his co-stars from previous guest appearances but as new characters. This confused the audience. The show started with a bang, but eventually got poor ratings and was canceled after one season.
First Health Problem
In 1983, Griffith was diagnosed with the Guillain-Barre Syndrome. This is a disease in which the immune system damages the nervous system, resulting in rapid muscular deterioration. It left Griffith paralyzed from the knees down for almost three months.
But, Griffith was a tough bird! After spending six months in rehabilitation, he was able to make a full recovery. Encouraged by this extraordinary feat, Griffith returned to acting once again, after only a few years.
The Matlock Magic
Griffith did it with a bang! In 1986, Griffith made his epic comeback to the small screen. The legal drama, Matlock, hit the screen with smashing reviews, setting the stage for its upcoming nine-year-long run. It was another instant Griffith-hit, skyrocketing his popularity.
Griffith played the titular role of a down-home but crabby defense attorney, Ben Matlock, in what would later become his magnum opus. But, once again, he was deprived of an Emmy Award nomination. However, Griffith won the People’s Choice Awards in 1987.
Griffith took things more slowly in his later years, mainly due to health reasons. Closing the epic circle, his last role in a TV series was in the 2003 show, The Andy Griffith Show Reunion: Back to Mayberry. The cast from the original show got back together one final time.
Griffith’s last film before his passing was in 2008 with Play the Game, in which he played Grandpa Joe. The film received average reviews. Unfortunately, it was not the best ending for such a long and eventful career of this TV icon.
The Music Man All Along
Griffith never lost his love for music. Along with his acting, he went on to have a successful parallel career in the music industry as well. Over the years, he released a total of 20 albums.
In 2005, Griffith released Pickin’ and Grinnin’: The Best of Andy Griffith, which became very popular. Music was the underlying passion of the TV star all along, and he loved to keep himself busy with his guitar in between his acting stints.
Third Time’s the Charm
Griffith searched for marital bliss in his life more than once. After he and his first wife went their separate ways, Griffith married Greek actress Solica Cassuto in 1973. After just eight years, the couple split.
Griffith finally found love again when he met the former actress and teacher Cindi Knight. They tied the knot on April 22nd, 1983 — while Griffith was in the midst of filming Murder in Coweta County. Griffith spent most of his last years peacefully with his wife in their large Dare County ranch in North Carolina.
Griffith and his first wife, Barbara, adopted two children during their relationship — a boy named Andy Samuel Griffith Jr. and a girl named Dixie Nann Griffith. Sam Griffith tragically passed away when he was only 38 due to long-term health complications.
Sam suffered from liver cirrhosis and other health issues for a long time. He developed his condition due to years of substance issues. He admired his father a lot. For Griffith, the loss of his son left him in great grief.
Griffith and Knott’s on-and-off friendship was in the limelight several times. But, there was another real-life friend whom Griffith was close with until the end. Actor Dick Van Dyke first met Griffith in 1954, and the two instantly hit it off.
Van Dyke made an appearance in the original episode of Matlock as the judge. He starred alongside Griffith again 11 years later in the 1993 mystery series, Diagnosis: Murder.
The Legal Dispute
The man, who ruled the courtroom drama genre on screen, found himself in real-life court during 2006. The issue was rather strange! A Wisconsin resident, William Harold Fenrick, changed his name to Andrew Jackson Griffith, just before he was about to run for the post of the Sheriff of Grant County.
As a result, Fenrick lost the title and promptly faced a lawsuit. Griffith aptly accused him of violating trademark laws to get an unjust advantage in the election, but the judge ruled in favor of Fenrick.
Illness Strikes Again
Unfortunately, Griffith’s health failed him for the second time in his life. After having severe difficulties for some years, Griffith had to undergo a quadruple heart-bypass surgery in 2000. Then, seven years later, he had to undergo hip surgery after taking a fall.
It’s unfortunate that the famed actor had to spend the last couple of decades of his life in and out of the hospital. But, as a real fighter, Griffith always won and appeared to make a full recovery each time.
The Last Goodbye
In July 2012, Andy Griffith passed away. The 86-year-old actor, comedian, and musician bid his final adieu — and the American TV industry lost one of its most beloved stars.
The demise of the actor came as a huge shock to everyone who knew him personally because he looked and sounded so upbeat in the months prior. He also had just celebrated his birthday at his Roanoke Island home in North Carolina.
A Spark of Controversy
Andy Griffith received several prestigious awards in his lifetime, including the Medal of Freedom in 2005. But, the passing of a person of such stature unfortunately brought some controversy, leaving the fans even more heartbroken.
Following his passing, a quick burial was arranged by Griffith’s family in the family cemetery of his island house. His widow, Cindy Knight, tore down one of Griffith’s houses, causing even more controversy. Then, she confirmed that some part of the property would be converted into a museum as Griffith had wished.
A Friend’s Tribute
Ron Howard, the actor who played Opie on The Andy Griffith Show, paid a heartfelt tribute to the actor. Following the filming of the show, the two actors stayed friends.
When Howard recalled his experiences from his days on set with Griffith, he talked about how the late star had created an incredibly warm atmosphere on the set. He managed to stay professional, all whilst spreading joy to those around him. Howard also recounted Griffth’s real-life fatherly influence that he had in his real life.
Turning a Dream Into Reality
Granting Griffith’s wish, the Andy Griffith Museum reopened in September 2017, after some renovations. The Museum in Mount Airy was previously built during Griffth’s lifetime to commemorate the actor’s 40 years in the industry.
It now contains the largest collection of Griffith memorabilia in the world. Accentuating the depth of Griffith’s career, every aspect of the late actor and musician’s life story is documented and preserved in the museum. What a fitting memorial for a star!
Some other memorabilia of the late actor is carefully preserved in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Griffith’s alma mater. North Carolina was always an important part of Griffith’s life and even had a massive influence on the legendary sitcom.
So, when the actor was left with a ton of memorabilia from the show following its ending, he donated a large part of it to the university. Here — through the TV and film footages, scripts, personal letters, and other keepsakes from his career — beloved Andy Griffith lives on forever.
Following his incredible four-decade-long career, Andy Griffith left behind a huge legacy. He was also kind-hearted and joyful by nature — which made the actor not only a TV star, but also one of the most beloved and respected personalities in the industry.
It’s true. Griffith’s on-screen talent wasn’t always recognized by critics, but it didn’t stop him from winning over the nation’s heart time and time again. He was a real-life inspiration for many. The superstar has undoubtedly left an unforgettable impact on the world.