Saturday, February 25, 2006

Ah, Barney...we hardly knew ye.

Crime-fighter, ladies' man, astronaut, West Virginian. Beloved comic actor Don Knotts took the final curtain Friday night, succumbing to pulmonary and respiratory complications at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Beverly Hills, California. Knotts was best known for his portayal of the befuddled Deputy Barney Fife in the iconic "Andy Griffith Show" of the 1960's.

His character of Barney Fife was, perhaps, the most fully realized character in situation comedy. A bumbling, bungling incompetent with delusions of grandeur, we had not seen his like until the selection of George W. Bush as Resident of the United States in 2000. Unlike Bush, however, Fife was surrounded by a competent, caring, compassionate cadre who prevented his incapacity from resulting in dire consequences, such as arresting an FBI agent, insulting Aunt Bea, embarassing the local choir, or embarking on an elective invasion and occupation in the Middle East and becoming bogged down in the quagmire of religious civil war.

Knotts was 81.


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