Daughter of Don Knotts, 'Andy Griffith Show' star, laughed while he was dying. She explains why

Cheryl Kahla
Apr 10, 2018
02:44 A.M.
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The late actor and comedian Don Knotts is most famously known for his portrayal of Deputy Barney Fife on the sixties sitcom, The Andy Griffith Show on CBS.  


Don passed away on February 24, 2006, at the age of 81, from pneumonia complications due to lung cancer. He was surrounded by his family, including his daughter, Karen Knotts. 

As reported by Closer Weekly, Karen told reporters that she couldn't contain her laughter while her father was on his deathbed, and had to leave the room to laugh. 

While that might sound cold and heartless, those close to Don would not find this strange at all. Karen explained that her father had "this funniness that was just completely, insanely natural." 


She went on to say that he was making jokes on his deathbed, and he had everybody 'in hysterics.' Both Karen and her stepmother had to leave the room. 

Karen later opened up to a close friend who also knew her father and said that she didn't want to laugh in the same room where her father was dying. 


Her friend, director Howard Storm, said she should 'have stayed and laughed out loud' because Don was a comedian and laughter is what he lived for. 

In retrospect, Karen agrees that she should have 'just stood there and blasted out laughing.' She describes her late father's humor as an 'out of control natural funniness.' 


While her father was known for his comedic antics, he didn't have a comfortable life at all. Karen explained that her father was burdened down by troubles from his past. 

As a child, his father and older brother tormented him. At the tender age of 13, Don had to learn to get his brother under control and contain the situation in his childhood home. 


He attended the Morgantown High School, and his demeanor started to change. Karen said that the 'world was his oyster' and for the first time he was in control of his own life. 

“He just blossomed, and he said those high school years were the best years of his life. He had a column in the yearbook that was called 'Dots and Dashes by Knotts.'"

Karen Knots, Closer Weekly, April 6, 2018.