It’s been fifteen years since Don Knotts of “The Andy Griffiths Show” fame passed away at the age of 81, but he is still missed by millions of fans to this day. His daughter Karen Knotts has since written a book about her father called “Tied Up in Knotts: My Dad and Me,” and in it, she reveals why she had to leave her father’s deathbed to laugh.
Let's have some fun since we're talking #DonKnotts this week! Which of his iconic characters is your favorite, Ralph Furley, Barney Fife, Luther Heggs, Theodore Ogelvie or someone else? Comment below!#PopQuiz #justforfun pic.twitter.com/hEggCcTVbu
— Invasion of the Remake (@InvasionRemake) November 10, 2021
Don Knotts’ Daughter Karen Recalls Her Father
“He was not Barney Fife,” Karen told Fox News of her father, referring to his most famous character. “That was a great, funny character. But my father was witty and funny all on his own. He was a good father. He wasn’t a tough father at all, but he had high standards for us.”
“Like anyone else, he had his moods,” she added. “He had depression that I had to talk him through sometimes because he had a really difficult childhood. He came from an alcoholic older brother and a paranoid schizophrenic father. He was living in extreme poverty during the Depression. So I became like a mini shrink… I would try to motivate him not to feel so depressed, to feel more positive about things.”
Don Knotts Was Funny To The End
Knotts was so funny right up until the end that he even had his daughter cracking up when he was on his deathbed!
“He wasn’t there trying to make anybody laugh – he was naturally funny!” Karen recalled. “And at times, he would be funny when he didn’t mean to be. So that’s what happened. We were sitting with him because we knew it was very close to the end of his illness. It was just such a somber mood. Then all of a sudden he just started doing something so funny that just gave us the giggles. And he would do that – just suddenly do or say something at a quiet moment to make you laugh. That came to him naturally.”
“I just couldn’t hold it in. I had to run out of that room,” she continued. “I didn’t want him to think I was laughing at him because he could be sensitive. But I just thought, ‘Oh my God, I need to step out now.’ I later told [director] Howard Storm about it. And he said, ‘You should have stayed there and laughed! That’s what comedians live for.’ But I didn’t want to hurt my dad’s feelings at that moment. It was a tough call!”
What Karen Knotts Wants Readers To Learn About Her Father
As for what she hopes readers will learn about her dad’s life from her book, Karen said, “I’m often told by people ‘I wish I could have met your dad.’ So when they read this book, I hope they feel as if they spent a week with him. He was funny, likable and just a wonderful dad right up to the end. And I hope the book captures just how great he was.”
One thing is for sure, and that is that Don Knotts was a comedic genius in his own right. His antics filled the world with joy and laughter – two commodities we’re increasingly short on these days.
While arguably best known for the role Barney Fife on The Andy Griffith Show, my favorite memory of Don Knotts will forever be his Scooby Doo cameo. His “Three’s Company” character Ralph Furley comes in a close second. In case you didn’t see his cartoon cameo, here’s a throwback clip from The New Scooby Doo Movies:
Truly there will never be another quite like Mr. Knotts!