Anyone who has seen The Andy Griffith Show will remember Don Knotts, known for playing the doubly loved Sheriff Deputy Barney Fife who worked alongside Sheriff Andy Taylor (Griffith) in the town of Mayberry. Knotts starred on The Andy Griffith Show from 1960-1968 and won five Emmy awards for his role of Fife. He later starred in Three's Company and hosted his own sitcom/variety show, The Don Knotts Show.
Knotts was an actor, a comedian and a renowned entertainer who got his start as a ventriloquist at a young age. Knotts' later career included reuniting with Griffith for the 1986 TV movie, Return to Mayberry, and acting alongside Griffith in Matlock. As for his personal life, Knotts was married three times and had two children from his first marriage: Thomas and Karen. His daughter Karen Knotts has continued to carry on her father's comedic torch.
Karen Knotts was born in 1954 to Don Knotts and Kathryn Metz. She grew up in Glendale, California, which she says was "Mayberry-like." She also says she and her father had a great relationship, but that he was wary when she told him she wanted to go into show business.
"I always wanted to be an actress, even when I was young, but he said, 'No, that's not a good life for a child,'" Knotts told the Murfreesboro Post.
Although her father wasn't completely on board, Knotts took drama class in junior high and says she "came alive" upon taking her first class. It was then that she decided she would follow a career in acting, just like her dad.
"I told him, and he kind of freaked out about it," said Knotts of her father. "He said, 'It's such a hard life. You don't understand.' We kind of butted heads, but he supported me 100 percent in the end."
Karen Knotts went on to attend high school at Beverly Hills High School and then went on to attend USC of Cinematic Arts. She has acted in theater productions, such as the George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart play, You Can't Take It With You, as well as TV shows and movies, including The Shakiest Gun in the West, Archie Bunker's Place, Return To Mayberry (as Opie's receptionist), Exorcism, An Occurrence at Black Canyon, and more. However, it wasn't until her father's death in 2006 that she began her long-running, one-woman show, Tied Up In Knotts!
"When my father, legendary comedian Don Knotts, passed away in February 2006, I wanted to pay tribute to him the way I knew him best: as an amazing, loving dad," says Knotts on her official website. "That's when I created my live, one woman comedy show, 'Tied Up In Knotts!'"
In the one-woman, stand up comedy show, which has been running for over ten years, Knotts describes what it was like to grow up with her father. Knotts also writes that the show is "family friendly and at its heart, a father-daughter story." The actress/comedian also talks about the making of some of her father's movies in the show, including The Incredible Mr. Limpet, The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, and The Apple Dumpling Gang movies. She also shows "rare footage from his early days in New York playing the 'Nervous Guy'."
"I consider my live comedy show a 'Docu-Comedy', because I'm presenting the truth about Dad's life as well as delivering laughs," she writes. "For me, it's a love story that continues to grow as I share these precious memories with audiences who continue to find joy in the legacy of Don Knotts."
According to the Murfreesboro Post, Karen Knotts performs Tied Up In Knotts! 15 to 20 times a year. Knotts also strives for the play to bring awareness to macular degeneration, a disease that affected her father for the last 15 years of his life.