By Staff -- Broadcasting & Cable, 3/5/2006 7:00:00 PM
Don Knotts died Feb. 25 of pulmonary and respiratory complications in Beverly Hills. He was 81.
Knotts was best-known for his role as the nervous and bumbling deputy Barney Fife in the TV series The Andy Griffith Show, which garnered him five Emmys.
The West Virginia native began his acting career as a ventriloquist. He began in TV in 1953 on the drama Search for Tomorrow, then made his comedy debut on The Steve Allen Show in 1956. He became a regular on The New Steve Allen Show in 1961 and debuted on The Andy Griffith Show in '62.
He reprised his Barney Fife role on Mayberry R.F.D. and hosted The Don Knotts Show in 1970.
From 1979 to '84, he played what would be his second-most-famous role, superintendent Ralph Furley on Three's Company.
Knotts reunited with Andy Griffith from 1988 to '92 in detective series Matlock and spent his late years touring the country and performing on stage.
Dennis Weaver died Feb. 24 at his home in Ridgway, Colo., at the age of 81.
Weaver played obtuse deputy Chester Goode (whose twangy “Miiister Dillon!” became a trademark) in CBS Western Gunsmoke from 1955 to '64. He won an Emmy for the role in 1959.
From 1970 to '77, Weaver portrayed quick-witted Sam McCloud, a New Mexico sheriff who joins the NYPD, in the NBC series McCloud. He reprised the role in 1989 TV movie The Return of Sam McCloud.
Weaver also appeared on Dragnet, Magnum P.I., CBS' Lonesome Dove: The Series and, most recently, ABC Family's Wildfire.
Darren McGavin, 83, died Feb. 26 of natural causes.
His performance as Carl Kolchak on The Night Stalker, the short-lived ABC series (1974-75), made him something of a patron saint to rumpled old reporters. He also played Candice Bergen's dad on Murphy Brown, winning an Emmy.
But McGavin may be best-remembered for his portrayal of Ralphie's dad in theatrical film The Christmas Story.
His TV roles also included Mike Hammer on the 1957-59 syndicated Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer and Gen. George S. Patton in Ike, a 1979 bio of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower.
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