Cindy Griffith, the widow of late actor Andy Griffith, has recently obtained a permit to demolish the house where he lived for many years on the North Carolina waterfront. This decision has upset many of the actor’s friends and fans, who had hoped the house would be preserved as a museum or Graceland-type estate.
As if being shamefully forgotten by the In Memoriam segment during the Oscars wasn’t enough, Andy Griffith’s widow intends to raze the house he bought in the 50s less than one year after the actor passed away.
Griffith’s wife obtained the demolition permit in March, according to Dare County records. County officials and friends confirmed that the permit is to raze a smaller house along the Roanoke Sound that the actor bought in the 1950s, not the larger house that he and Cindi built nearby several years ago.
William Ivey Long, the Tony Award-winning costume designer whose parents were friends with Andy Griffith and his first wife, Barbara, said the actor told him in 2007 that he wanted to preserve the older home as a museum. The two talked about this option when Long held an exhibit of his costumes at the Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington.
“We compared notes. I had to fit mine into an existing museum. I told him, if you’re doing yours, you can make it however you want it”, said Long in a phone interview from his studio in New York City.
Griffith, who died last July, wanted the museum to include items from his TV shows, along with memorabilia from his music career, added Long. He also said that the two didn’t discuss whether it would compete with the Andy Griffith Museum in the actor’s hometown of Mount Airy.
Cindy Griffith didn’t return messages after this news went public. Her late husband’s will doesn’t mention a museum or the property. The will – dated May 3, 2012, two months before Andy passed away – turns over most of his property and estate to the trustee of a trust, whose records aren’t public. The attorney for the will refused to comment on the subject.
The demolition contractor, Calvin Gibbs, also didn’t return a call. It wasn’t clear whether the demolition had begun or not, though.
Della Basnight of Manteo, whose family was friends with Griffith since she was a child, said she understood that Cindi Griffith had the right to do whatever she wanted with the property. However, regarding the demolition, Basnight said: “When he gave her the power to do anything, I don’t think he thought she would want to do that“.
She also said that Andy Griffith bought the house the first time he had any real money and raised his two children there. “I had really sort of always thought it would be secured. I always thought it would remain”, said Basnight.