In a very weird and unusual turn of events, two of America’s most popular and entertaining actors were both born in the same year and less than a month apart. If that’s not crazy enough, they also passed away in the same month — on the exact same day. The actors we’re referring to here are Don Knotts, whom we’ve talked about in detail, and Dennis Weaver, one of the most beloved and successful actors at the time, who was also the former president of the Screen Actors Guild. The two worked in many films throughout their acting careers, and their acting paths intersected on many occasions. A third actor who was just two years older than them also passed away just a few hours after them, his name was Darren McGavin.
Dennis Weaver was best known for his roles as Chester Goode on the CBS western Gunsmoke, Marshal Matt Dillon’s trusty partner, and for playing as Deputy Marshal Sam McCloud on the NBC police drama McCloud. He was also the star of the 1971 film Duel, which was the first film ever made by the iconic director Steven Spielberg. He died of complications from cancer in Ridgway, Colorado, just a few hours around the same time that Don Knotts passed away. It’s unknown whether the two had communicated while in their deathbeds before passing away.
The Voice Over Years
In his later years, Don Knotts spent most of his time doing voice-overs for animated films. This was due to his declining health and inability to do anything even slightly physically demanding. The actor was then in his late seventies and preferred to lend his voice as a way to keep acting and entertaining people, as he had never wanted to retire from the industry. His role in 2004’s TV show, Dave the Barbarian, was the last TV performance he would do before his passing. The TV show was fairly successful both commercially and critically and managed to draw a considerable audience of children.
The animated TV show mostly revolved around a barbarian named Dave, who goes on incredible adventures with his friends and family. It's theme is set mostly during medieval times, so it does offer some view for kids into older history. Knott's guest role on the show was as the Baker in one of the episodes. There’s no doubt that if Don Knotts was still alive, he would do a fantastic job voicing over various characters in cartoons and animated TV shows and films. His voice translates well into the audio medium and brings with it his unique and iconic personality and mannerisms.
Don and Andrew's Chemistry
One of Don Knotts' and Andrew Griffin's first films together was the 1957 comedy, No Time for Sergeants, which helped launch the two popular actors' careers. It was a major hit with audiences and was the first time that people saw the amazing chemistry between the two actors. You can really see Don’s and Andrew’s relationship shine through the film, and this was a very good sign of things to come from the popular acting duo.
In the film, which is based on a Broadway play, which itself was based on a 1954 best-selling novel by Mac Hayman, we follow the chronicles of a reluctant country bumpkin named Will Stockdale (played by Andrew Griffith) who gets drafted into the United States military Air Forces during World War II. Sergeant Orville King (played by Don Knotts), was his enemy and reluctant mentor in the film.
His Incredible Grave Plaque
Don Knotts will always be remembered for his various legendary roles, including the portraying the carnival ride operator who was sent to space in The Reluctant Astronaut, his role as Jesse, a reluctant cowboy in The Shakiest Gun in the West, and as Barney Fife, the deputy and cousin of Sheriff Andy Taylor in The Andy Griffith Show. Many people have very fond memories of the man who entertained them and put a smile on their faces from the mid-‘50s up until his passing, five decades later.
Even though almost a decade and a half have passed since Don Knotts died in 2006, his memory lives on as he provides inspiration to many aspiring comedians and entertainers, as-well as those who remember him fondly for his roles. Nothing sums up who Knott was or what he loved most more than the bronze plaque that was made especially in his memory and now rests as part of his grave. The engraved images immediately invoke a sense of nostalgia and longing, as-well-as a warm feeling of happiness at all the wonderful memories this man helped create.
The Last Time I Saw Archie
Don Knotts played in various films that were centered around World War II, it was probably his way of going back to his military past as a decorated veteran who helped raise his soldiers’ morale. In the film The Last Time I Saw Archie, which was a 1961 comedy set in the last days of the Second World War, Don plays as Captain Harry Little.
In the film, Private Arch Hall Sr., played by Robert Mitchum, is a lazy and conniving American in the aviation schools who dominates everyone around him while attempting to not do any work. This leads him to various wacky adventures in what the film called "The Most Uproarious G.I. Comedy of Them All!. '' Unfortunately, the film was not well received by critics and faded away relatively quickly from the eyes of the public.