A dose of reality brought Don Knotts perspective after his first Emmy win

He was recognized at the Emmys but not on the golf course!

CBS Television Distribution

We've all ridden a little too high on the horse. No matter what our specialty is, a win feels good, and it's tempting to gloat. Maybe we got that raise at work, or maybe we made a purchase that would've seemed out of our range. Regardless of the details, we all know what it's like to feel a little too proud of some accomplishment. Luckily, the real world is always there to remind us of our place in it. 

At an early apex in his career, Don Knotts had to come to terms with his fame and what the rest of America thought of him. In his 1999 book, Barney Fife, and Other Characters I Have Known, Knotts discusses his first major award and the reckoning that followed. 

"I had been nominated for an Emmy for best supporting actor. I was stunned. This was something that had never crossed my mind. I was even more stunned when I won. I got an unexpected laugh during my acceptance speech, when I said I had nothing to say because I had always been a prepared loser."

Perhaps that self-deprecating nature is what made the win such a high. Knotts wasn't someone who saw that kind of accolade in his future, so when it came, it was a major surprise, and one he was almost too proud of.

"It was a good feeling and I must confess that for the first time in my career, I felt like strutting a little bit."

Don Knotts is nothing if not human. Like all of us, a major accomplishment can bring with it a level of braggadocio. Luckily, though, the universe was there to remind Knotts that not everybody watched the Emmys, or The Andy Griffith Show for that matter.

"The next day, I decided to play golf and I strutted my way over to the golf club. Why not? My picture was in the paper and everything. I was told there was a guy on the first tee looking for a game. I walked out to the tee and approached the stranger with my hand out. 'Hi, there,' I said magnanimously, 'I'm Don Knotts.'

"'Glad to know you,' said the man, 'Bill Smith. I'm in hardware, what's your line [of work]?'"

Obviously, Smith's failure to recognize him took the wind out of Don Knotts' sails. But it was all for the better. Nobody likes a braggart.

"I made a note never to strut," wrote Knotts. 

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2 Comments

FrankensteinLover 1 month ago
Well deserved don was a comic genius that didn't have to try hard to be funny.
Runeshaper 1 month ago
That award was deserved, I'm sure. The strutting golf story is hilarious LOL
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