Don Knotts was born in Morgantown, West Virginia, about an hour south of Pittsburgh, to Elsie L. Moore (1885-1969) and William Jesse Knotts (1882-1937). He was the youngest of four sons in a family struggling through the Depression. His father, who had suffered hysterical blindness and a nervous collapse before Don was born, rarely left his bed. His mother kept the family going by taking in boarders. One of his brothers, Shadow, died of an asthma attack while Don was a teenager.
Don Knotts married his college sweetheart, Kathryn Metz, in 1947, and after graduation the couple moved to New York where Don soon became a regular on a number of television and radio programs. The couple had two children -- Karen and Thomas -- prior to divorcing in 1964. Don was married to his second wife, Loralee Czuchna, from 1974 to 1983.
In 1955, Don Knotts made his debut on Broadway in the hit comedy, No Time for Sergeants, his first collaboration with Andy Griffith. Knotts also appeared as a regular member of the ensemble cast on NBC's The Steve Allen Show, from 1956 to 1960.
Return to his TV Roots:
Don Knotts returned to his successful TV roots in 1979, joining the hit comedy, Three's Company, as the eccentric landlord Mr. Furley. He remained with the show until it went off the air in 1984. Don Knotts then again teamed with Andy Griffith for the TV movie Return to Mayberry. He also played the pesky neighbor, Les Calhoun, in Andy Griffith's Matlock series, from 1988 to 1992. Don Knotts published an autobiography of his life -- Barney Fife and Other Characters I Have Known in 1999.
Awards & Recognition:
Don Knotts won five Emmy Awards for Outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role in a Series for his work on The Andy Griffith Show.