Original name, Jesse Donald Knotts; born July 21, 1924, in Morgantown, WV; died of complications from lung cancer, February 24, 2006, in Beverly Hills, CA. Actor, comedian, and writer. Known for his comedic portrayals of affable yet somewhat dimwitted characters, Knotts worked in the entertainment industryfor half a century. His most recognized characters included bumbling Deputy Barney Fife in The Andy Griffith Show, a role that garnered Knotts fiveEmmy Awards, and lascivious landlord Ralph Furley in Three's Company.Knotts began his career as a ventriloquist and appeared in his first television series, the soap opera Search for Tomorrow, from 1953 to 1955. Itwas the only dramatic role in his career. He appeared as a regular in TheSteve Allen Show before landing his seminal role in The Andy GriffithShow, which ran for five seasons, from 1960 to 1965. Knotts also hosted his own variety show and in the late 1980s appeared with former costar Andy Griffith in the series Matlock. Knotts' film career reflected his love of lighthearted humor. He appeared in such films as It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, the animated and live action film The Incredible Mr. Limpet, The Reluctant Astronaut, and The Apple Dumpling Gang. Knotts' final film performance was as the voice of Mayor Turkey Lurkey in the animated film Chicken Little. Knotts was also a writer. He wrote the screenplay The Barney Fife Guide to Life, Love, and Self-Defense in 1993 as well as a memoir, Barney Fife and Other Characters I Have Known, published in 1999.