When one thinks of acting icon Jack Nicholson, The Andy Griffith Show isn’t the first to come up. In fact, it may not come up at all.
The storied career of Nicholson is one that includes acclaimed movie after movie. From Easy Rider in 1969 to The Departed in 2006, the now 84-year-old has left an indelible mark in cinema.
While the actor’s early days featured many television performances, his legacy will always be on the big screen. But before her got there, he took a detour through Mayberry in the late 1960s.
In 1966, Nicholson made his first appearance on The Andy Griffith Show. The role came in the episode titled, “Opie Finds a Baby,” which aired in the sixth season of the show.
He portrayed “Mr. Garland,” a father of a child who is accidentally left behind at the Mayberry Courthouse after he loses his temper. For someone who has delivered such intense acting performances as Nicholson has, it’s only fitting he plays a hothead.
Opie and Arnold take it upon themselves to find a home for the child, which is, of course, returned to Garland and his wife at the end of the episode.
Jack Nicholson Returns to The Andy Griffith Show
The next season, Nicholson didn’t reprise his role of Mr. Garland, but instead played a different man in the final season of The Andy Griffith Show. In “Aunt Bee, the Juror,” he is “Marvin Jenkins,” a man who is accused of stealing a TV.
While the rest of the jury is convinced that Jenkins is guilty, Aunt Bee is the lone holdout. She just isn’t sure that he committed the crime, and ends up forcing the 12 to announce themselves as a hung jury.
As one could expect, Andy Taylor solves the case. We won’t spoil the end for those who are still enjoying The Andy Griffith Show, but it makes for one of the better episodes of the show’s final season.