‘The Andy Griffith Show’: Ron Howard Says Griffith Was in ‘Genuine Pain’ Over His Marriage During the Show

Now in their 60s, Ron and Clint Howard’s public childhood is now delivering again in the form of a new memoir titled “The Boys: A Memoir of Hollywood and Family.” But, of course, the famous brothers have their fair share of knowledge on both topics as they grew up sharing the stage in Hollywood. The two co-wrote the book and offered a number of perspectives on their careers growing up and their experiences.

Now a prolific director and producer, Ron was only six years old when he became Opie Taylor on “The Andy Griffith Show,” which aired from 1960-1968. This show documented life in Mayberry, North Carolina, as Andy Taylor and son Opie stay with Taylor’s Aunt Bee. Howard, shared a few secrets about his time on set.

The secret – Andy Griffith was in “genuine pain” as his marriage to his first wife Barbara was on the rocks. He spills, “Andy came back from Christmas break one season with his hand all taped up. He was blunt about what happened: I got drunk, I got mad, and I put my fist through a door.”

While working on “The Andy Griffith Show,” Howard documents being bullied and feeling like an outcast. He writes that going back to school was exceptionally tough due to the name-calling. Howard writes, “In retrospect, it was definitely anxiety-provoking, particularly going back to the public schools. The life that’s supposed to be quote normal and finding it alienating and yet learning to navigate that and cope with that. Then understanding how that somehow made me different in the world. I had to accept that in a way.”

Andy and Barbara Griffith

Andy Griffith and Barbara Bray Edwards were married on August 22, 1949. The two met at the University of North Carolina, where Griffith switched majors and began to study for his Bachelor of Music degree. It was then that he met Barbara and they fell happily in love. The couple settled down in Goldsboro, North Carolina as Griffith taught music at a local high school. Together the pair adopted two children, Andy Griffith J.R and Dixie Griffith. Barbara and Andy, fueled with passion and talent, set out to create their own act as they traveled around displaying their show. Thus, nearly a decade later, “The Andy Griffith Show” was born.

Throughout filming “The Andy Griffith Show,” Barbara remained at her husband’s side. She appears in the episode “The Song Festers” in Season 4 as “Sharon” and spoke just one line. She says, “I’m sorry, Mr. Masters.” She was also mentioned as “Barbara Edwards” in Season 4’s “Opie Loves Helen.” Unfortunately, Andy J.R died of alcoholism shortly after their divorce in 1973 after 23 years of marriage. Griffith went on to remarry Solica Cassuto, and Barbara married Michael St. Clair and sadly passed away in 1980 at 53 years old.

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