Andy Griffith explained why they called him Andy Taylor on The Andy Griffith Show

It had to do with his love life, yuh see?

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The press made Andy Griffith out to be real hillbilly when he burst onto the Hollywood scene. Interviews with the actor circa 1960 read like bad Mark Twain knock-offs. Writers lean hard into transcribing his Southern accent, peppering his quotes with apostrophes and H's. 

Take this, for example:

Ah Wouldn't Lose Mah Accent fo' a $100 Bill, a headline declared around the premiere of The Andy Griffith Show. The article, written by John Crosby for The Miami Herald, is condescending (peppered with quotes along the lines of, "Ev'body's mean in the mawnin', whah, mah wife don' speak.") but insightful. Because Andy explained why the sitcom named his character Taylor.

You might think it's a little weird that The Andy Griffith Show centered around a man named Andy Taylor, but it was standard practice back then, from Danny Williams of The Danny Thomas Show to Doris Martin of The Doris Day Show to Donna Stone of The Donna Reed Show.

Griffith gave a fascinating, logical reason for the change, one that might explain the practice in general. Studios wanted to separate the real actors from their characters, especially when it came to their love lives.

"Why cay-ant ah use mah own nayme?" Andy asked the producers. (Yeah, we warned you.) "The tole me because ah'm a married mayan. Been married ten years and had two children. On the show ah'm a widower with one child an it wouldn't do for me to be makin' eyes at a girl if I was married 10 years."

They were afraid audiences would not be able to separate the real man from the Sheriff. Andy Griffith wore a wedding ring. He couldn't just go around courting Ellie Walker. So, dub the dude "Taylor."

There was one thing Andy could not change — his "mean eyes." 

"Ah got mean lookin' eyes, ah have," he said. "Cayant he'p it. All my people got mean lookin' eyes."

They really leaned into that accent, didn't they?

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Jerry1949 16 months ago
You know reading a lot of these comments they should be ashamed of there selves a show is for entertainment it does not mean to hurt people and if they were smart enough to know this , hey people do you believe in Zorro and think they were making fun of the Spanish people no ! So if you don’t like the show don’t watch it ! And by the way I am from Savannah Georgia . I like watching tv that does not have a lot of sex nude woman or the F—k word , family show. There for awhile I all most stop watching tv but now I guess that is all I watch is MeTV !
BrianThetubewatcher 28 months ago
I cringe over how the TV industry exaggerates and mocks “suthun ak-sennnts.” On M*A*S*H, a Jewish 4077th member is asked his help on the crossword clue “Yiddish for bedbug,” and responds “We been se-em gener-ai-tions in Geo-Juh ris-un cotton.” Like that would rule out knowledge of one’s Jewish heritage. A southerner is used as a cliche, then discarded, with no other purpose. It so happens a longtime friend of mine is from Columbus, Ga. His multi-generations there and his being Jewish are not some sideshow contradiction.
bagandwallyfan52 28 months ago
MATATHON :The Best of
ED SAWYER for two hours
On Thursday and Friday night
8pm to 10pm. We can find out
all the details of ED SAWYER and Lucy Mathews fantastic
Courtship and romance.

Any day in May would be
MrKitty 28 months ago
What accent??
JHP MrKitty 28 months ago
huh ? it was big time in the early Eps - and then it got bleached out as time went on:)

interesting that BARN really never had the accent (even though they were cousins)
Bradley JHP 20 months ago
Sarcasm... To us Southerners, he just sounds normal.
JHP Bradley 20 months ago
so in your world ANG had the same speaking demeanor throughout the whole show - Yeah right (don't think so) - don't really think any of the other characters had the ANG tang (even floyd who was a founder barely had it)

sarcasm is a double edged sword (I do admire you identifying yourself as a southerner)
Dingbat4Andy 28 months ago
What in the tarnation is this about?… one of the best shows of all times and still my favorite. Too bad todays TV shows are so dumb. Too many reality shows with no morals.
JHP Dingbat4Andy 28 months ago
agreed - even though I pick apart TAGS like a crow over some dead kill
Kenner Dingbat4Andy 28 months ago
I agree…And “reality” shows that are all scripted. Some “reality.”
MizDee 28 months ago
Taylor was Andy Griffith's mother's maiden name. I have always thought that was why they used Taylor for his last name.
Pacificsun 28 months ago
IMO the reiteration of the accent is a little heavy and not that necessary to make the point of the story, how an actor's last name is changed to protect publicity, Partly true but audiences aren't quite as dumb as supposed. In the days of movie magazine gossip (which these writers wouldn't remember) fans hung on the stories written about their favorites. In actuality an actor's reputation was promoted or protected at the studio level. Meaning, publicity agents knew how to do their job! Sitcom actors weren't spotlighted as much as movie and heart-throbs. And TAGs was just another rural comedy back then, as hard as it is for us now to imagine. But scandal could creep in anywhere. Normal divorces and remarriages, breakups and going with an unmarried partner, just part of real life.

But one of the most important reasons was to preserve the imaginary world of fiction. Which the article said in it's own fashion.
Andybandit 28 months ago
I like Andy Griffith Name on TAGS.
MrsPhilHarris 28 months ago
Interesting. It’s funny because I was looking at the picture of him from yesterday and I thought he looked mean.
Zip 28 months ago
This is something I have always wondered as well, the two name thing. This article explains a little bit, so thanks for that. But as for using the person's real name in the title, is it just ego from the star or is the studio using the name value to get viewers?
Load previous comments
Type your comments however you wish, that is your choice. Why bother yourself with what another commenter thinks. Don't see any sense in deleting your comments, however that's your choice. As far as your CC posts, I have posted my thoughts, you're free to your ideas or opinions as it is past history that he had his time on the series and moved on.
Says on Happy Days.
Even though I didn't want to
I said GOODBYE And FAREWELL To CHUCK Cunningham 1 Gavan O Herlihy and Chuck Cunningham 2 Randolph Roberts
In 1975 and I said GOODBYE To
MOOSE Barry Greenberg in
1974 and to BAG ZOMBROSKI Neil J Schwartz in 1977 and
To Spike in 1976 and to Eugene Belvin Denis Mandel in 1982
And Melvin Belvin Scott Bernstein in 1983 and Marsha
Simms Beatrice Colen in 1976
And to Wendy Misty Rowe in
1975 and Goodbye to Trudy Tita
Bell in 1975 and To Gloria Linda Purl in 1975 and Flip Phillips
Billy Warlock and Goodbye to
KC Cunningham Crystal Bernard
In 1983 . And GOODBYE To
HAPPY DAYS in 1984.
I wouldn't have made the comment, but I agree with it; your comments are hard to read because of the format you use. Try just letting the comments wrap around.
LoveMETV22 28 months ago
To much focus on the accent in the story. A very successful series that lasted many seasons. Andy Griffith had a good sense of what was best for the show. His producers knew that as well. Y'all.
justjeff 28 months ago
Wahl shut ma mouth! Was Mr. Crosby a Sutherna hissself whal writin' thet trash fer The Miami Herald? (Anyone who *knows* Miami knows we haven't been a "Southern" area in decades!
Maverick66 justjeff 28 months ago
Condescending reporters used to do that all the time. Less-educated individuals who didn't speak "the king's English," foreigners with accents, and even Americans with regional accents - like Andy Griffith - were quite often quoted verbatim to make them look foolish or uneducated.

As for modern Miamians, justjeff, do more of them have New York, New Jersey, or Pennsylvania accents? 😁
justjeff Maverick66 28 months ago
Cuban, Haitian, Jamaican, Bahamian, Puerto Rican, Honduran, Venezuelan, etc. - and, oh yes... there's a few of us older "snowbirds" still around with our various US regional dialects... I'm a former Brooklynite, and some people swear they can hear that in me... but I came here at the age of 11 (over 58 years ago), and the only time I *know* I sound like a "New Yawker" is when I'm speaking with those who still have a heavy dialect and I pick it up, or if I'm tired and speaking informally...

So pass me the aluminum ferl, I'll met ya at da corner of thoity-thoid and thoid, and we'll listen to some doo-wop music at the candy staw...
daDoctah justjeff 28 months ago
Coises! Furled again!
Coldnorth justjeff 25 months ago
I love accents. I have a very strong accent some say it’s Canadian but it isn’t. I try to see if I can guess where the accents are from
daDoctah 28 months ago
About twenty years ago I started compiling a list of TV actors whose characters had the same first name as themselves but different last names. From Billy Mumy, Bob Crane and Lucille Ball, to Bob Newhart, right down to Ray Romano, Ellen DeGeneres and Charlie Sheen.

Tony Danza was famous for playing characters named Tony, supposedly because he had trouble remembering to respond when another actor addressed him as anything else.

There were a few shows completely devoid of such matchups (on Bewitched all I could find was Maurice Evans, whose character's surname was never revealed) and a couple where things got weird (Robert Reed and Mike Lookinland traded first names, and on Hope & Faith, Faith Ford played Hope.
daDoctah 28 months ago
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louannmaryanncplboylefan 28 months ago
Andy Taylor was a good man and
a fair man on The Andy Griffith Show.
Its not easy to find a TV character
ss nice and intelligent as Sheriff
Andy Taylor.
Other wonderful Characters and
Nice characters on TV Shows
Include Ozzie Nelson Professor
Roy Hinkley (Russell Johnson)
Jimmy Olson (Jack Larson)
Barney Fife (Don Knotts) Uncle
Bill Davis(Family Affair-Brian Keith)
Cpl. Boyle Roy Stuart Tony Nelson
(Larry Hagman) Richie Cunningham Ron Howard Howard Sprague (Jack
Dodson) Steve Douglas (Fred MacMurray) Mr Green Jeans (Lumpy
Brannan) Fonzie (Henry Winkler)
Goober PYLE(George Lindsey .
I forgot to mention Sam Jones
As a wonderful and nice Character on Mayberry RFD
Played by Ken Berry.
Loved Sam Jones. I wish some channel would run that series, not just as a weekend marathon as Decades did a while back.
louannmaryanncplboylefan 28 months ago
This comment has been removed.
He was so bland on that show, so boring and that tells me what he, the writers and producers thought of the viewers. He was a ton of fun as "Vinton," on Mama's Family.
"Barney" got on my nerves! The way he frenetically hovered around prisoners, putting his hands all over them, that high-pitched voice...he could be funny as h*lol, but he could be annoying, too.
My "go-to's" are separated by two decades. First, I've always enjoyed Bill Bixby's "Tom Corbett" in "Courtship of Eddie's Father". Secondly (as far as ONSCREEN character representations go), Bill Cosby's Mr. Huxtable character has few peers.
justjeff albundy 25 months ago
Runeshaper 28 months ago
That accent seems way exaggerated in the article. I always think of Andy Taylor as a simple man, but intelligent as well. I don't think Andy Griffith was any less intelligent.
ETristanBooth Runeshaper 28 months ago
Watch A Face in the Crowd, and it's obvious that he was a brilliant serious actor and obviously intelligent.
He was very good in that movie.
Runeshaper ETristanBooth 28 months ago
Thanks for the recommendation! (-:
Nala92129 ETristanBooth 28 months ago
He was a very underrated actor. He was great in "A Face In The Crowd," and also as Ash Robinson in "Murder In Texas." He had a very mobile face and projected so much warmth and heart as Sheriiff Taylor.
MyrtleMae Runeshaper 28 months ago
In the first season of TAGS (as well as the test episode on the DTS) they had Andy use the greatly exaggerated southern hillbilly accent. They let him speak in his normal accent in the following seasons. The exaggerated drawl was out of place since no one else in the program used that type of accent (not even 'Ernest T. Bass').
Runeshaper MyrtleMae 28 months ago
That's super interesting! Thanks for sharing (-:
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