Jesse Donald "Don" Knotts (July 21, 1924 February 24, 2006) was a highly respected comedic actor, best known for his role on The Andy Griffith Show as Barney Fife, a portrayal for which he won the Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor five times.
Born and raised in West Virginia, Knotts served in the U.S. Army during World War II. He began his acting career on the soap opera Search for Tomorrow in 1953, though he first rose to fame as a recurring cast member on The Steve Allen Show. A long and fruitful association with Andy Griffith started when the two were cast in the Broadway play and film versions of No Time For Sergeants. After leaving The Andy Griffith Show, he starred in several comic films aimed at kids such as The Reluctant Astronaut, The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, and The Shakiest Gun in the West, later pairing with Tim Conway during The '70s in movies such as The Apple Dumpling Gang and The Private Eyes.
Later, he appeared in two episodes of The New Scooby-Doo Movies and on Three's Company as the landlord Ralph Furley, as well as reuniting with his old co-star Andy Griffith in several episodes of Matlock.
Tropes Associated with Don Knotts:
- The Bus Came Back: Barney came back for some guest appearances.
- Clueless Deputy: Barney practically codified this trope.
- Dirty Old Man: Not Don Knotts himself, but how he portrayed Mr. Furley.
- Embarrassing First Name: His full name is Jesse Donald Knotts.
- Ghost Story: The film The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, in which he plays the emponymous Mr. Chicken. It's about a cowardly reporter investigating the local Haunted House.
- Hollywood Tone-Deaf: A frequent part of Don's comedy acts and as his signature role of Barney Fife. Averted in real life, as he was a talented singer with a fine baritone voice.
- Ink-Suit Actor: In The Incredible Mr. Limpet.
- Put on a Bus: Don Knotts left The Andy Griffith Show and the character of Barney Fife accepted a new job in Charlotte. He did come back for a few guest appearances, and also for the 1986 reunion TV movie Return to Mayberry.
- Slapstick: He was a master of the craft.