Just outside the Metropolitan Theater in downtown Morgantown, West Virginia the legendary comedic actor Don Knotts smiles at visitors. Knotts, best known for roles like Barney Fife on The Andy Griffith Show and Mr. Furley in Three’s Company, was born in the town in 1924 and graduated down the road from West Virginia University. In 2016, locals installed this statue honoring their former neighbor.
The statue depicts Knotts holding his service cap worn for his role as Sheriff Barney Fife. The role earned him several Emmy Awards in the 1960s. In his left hand, he holds a script for the 1966 film The Ghost and Mr. Chicken. During his childhood in Morgantown, Knotts experimented as a performer by teaching himself ventriloquism.
Upon the statue’s reveal on a hot day in July 2016, locals recalled fond memories of Knotts from his time in Morgantown. The statue, designed by artist Jamie Lester, is life-sized and features the actor’s name on a pedestal. On the sidewalk nearby is a star with Knotts’s name and image, an homage to the star he received on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2000.
Knotts did not live to see the statue in his hometown; he died 10 years earlier in 2006. His daughter Karen was on hand for the unveiling.