Jesse Donald Don Knotts was an American comedic actor best known as Barney Fife on The Andy Griffith Show, a 1960s sitcom for which he earned five Emmy awards. He also played Luther Heggs in the 1966 film The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, and The Incredible Mr. Limpet, in which he plays a talking fish for the majority of the film. He also played landlord Ralph Furley on the 1970s1980s television sitcom Threes Company.
Knotts was born in Morgantown, West Virginia, the son of William Jesse Knotts and his wife, Elsie L. Knotts . Knottss parents were married in Spraggs, Pennsylvania, in Greene County, just north of Morgantown. Knottss paternal ancestors emigrated from England to America in the 17th century, originally settling in Queen Annes County, Maryland. Knottss father was a farmer. William Knotts had a nervous breakdown due to the stress of Dons birth, the couples fourth child. This was because Don was born so late in his mothers life Dons mother wasat the time of his birth. Afflicted with schizophrenia and alcoholism, William sometimes terrorized his young son with a knife, causing the boy to turn inward at an early age. Knottss father died of pneumonia when Don, the youngest son, wasyears old. Don and his three brothers were then raised by their mother, who ran a boarding house in Morgantown. Elsie Knotts died in 1969, at age 84. Her son William Earl Knotts preceded her in death in 1941