Fans of Andy Griffith’s popular classic TV sitcom series The Andy Griffith Show know actor Don Knotts well as the sidekick deputy to Griffith’s Sheriff Andy Taylor. However, many fans of the prolific comedian and actor also know that his face is one that shows up quite often on a variety of popular television shows.
In fact, Knotts can be seen guest-starring in many shows over multiple decades. But, there was one role Knotts can be seen in that puts the actor front-and-center as a series regular. This role brings Knotts in as the zany landlord in the wildly popular sitcom series, Threes Company.
Don Knotts Becomes A Star Player In Another Popular TV Series; A Decade After The Andy Griffith Show Comes To An End
Shooting to popularity in the 1960s as he portrays the Andy Griffith Show’s bumbling deputy Sheriff of the fictional town of Mayberry, Don Knotts quickly became a household name. The series was a prime-time favorite all across the country for nearly a decade between 1960 and 1968.
However, Don Knotts wasn’t done bringing us some unforgettable laughs when The Andy Griffith Show came to an end after eight seasons on the air. In fact, some could even say this was only the beginning of Knotts’s television fame. The actor continued to play in some popular shows for nearly four more decades.
Including a run as the hilariously clumsy and blundering Ralph Furley in the John Ritter-led TV sitcom series, Three’s Company. In this role, Don Knotts’s Ralph Furley steps in as the Three’s Company trio’s latest landlord. Knotts’s first appearance in the series comes in 1979. And, the comedian continues on the popular sitcom through the rest of the show’s run until 1984.
As is typical of Don Knotts’s style, he took his role as Ralph Furley all the way, adding some special touches to make the character his own; regularly showing up in comedic leisure suits. Knotts even adds a comical toupee to his character halfway through one of the show’s seasons.
Andy Griffith Credits Co-Star Don Knotts For Show’s Massive Success
Shortly after he first screened the original pilot to The Andy Griffith Show, Don Knotts gave his buddy Andy Griffith a quick call with one specific suggestion. According to reports, Knotts told his actor pal that he thought the series would be funnier if Sherriff Andy Taylor has a deputy. Essentially, Knotts knew the writers would have sitcom gold if Sherriff Taylor had a comedic foil. This, of course, is how the idea of Knotts’s Barney Fife was born!
“I was supposed to have been the comic, the funny one,” Andy Griffith tells The Los Angeles Times in a 1993 interview.
“But when Don came on, I realized by the second episode Don should be funny,” Griffith continues of his costar. “And I should play straight to him.”