Saturday, February 25, 2006

Don Knotts: 1924-2006

In Memory

Don Knotts famed comic actor of television and movies passed away Friday night at the age of 81, in lew of offering a standard obituary (one of which you can access via this link) I would like to offer just some brief comments on the man and his life. Don Knotts is not someone you would mistake as a great actor, he really had only one characterization which was a slight variant of the Bob Hope 'over confident coward persona', but which Don enhanced through his gangly physical appearance and playing each part as something of a klutz. Though he is best known as Barney Fife from The Andy Griffith Show and stared in a half-dozen TV series, I will always remember him best from the family movies he did mostly for Disney. The Apple Dumpling Gang I saw many times as a kid, and I consider The Incredible Mr. Limpet to be Dons magnum opus. There was a time when he may have felt limited and type cast in the kinds of movies he was having such success in, he even experimented making what for him was an unusual film The Love God?, a picture that I have not seen but from its premise certainly want to. However long his period of career dissatisfaction may have been he certainly recommitted himself to doing what he did best in his 1970s and 80s output. While in his later years limited to small guest roles and toward the end voice work, his presence on screen in whatever form always brought an element of satisfaction. I will miss Don Knotts, while I was never a 'great' fan I appreciated him, and from what I know of his awkward and shy real-life persona empathize with him. A life well lived for the simple pleasure of laughter his legacy will be sustained in the childlike spaces of many a soul.


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