Jack Dodson was arguably best known for playing “Howard Sprague”, the somewhat geeky county clerk on The Andy Griffith Show (1960). This amazingly funny character actor endeared himself to 60s and 70s audiences as the straight-laced “straight man” to the “comic idiot” character “Goober”. He brought laughs throughout the end of the run of The Andy Griffith Show (1960) (Ugh!!!)- and its spin-off, the ever popular (he said facetiously), Mayberry R.F.D. (1968) (alongside Ken Berry in the “Andy” knock-off role). Dodson got his start on Broadway, later coming to Hollywood and “The Andy Griffith Show” (1960) in 1967. In fact, Andy Griffith saw Jack on Broadway in 1964’s, “Hughie”, and hired him for “The Andy Griffith Show” straight away.
In 1971, Mayberry R.F.D. (1968) fizzled, but Jack remained busy with television and film appearances. From his first effort in Munster, Go Home! (1966) to the Griffith film Angel in My Pocket (1969) and even a nod as “Dr. Douglas” in the very scary Disney (Ray Bradbury) film Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983). Believe it or not, Howard (Jack) did it “all”, working with some of the great directors and actors of his time. From Andy Griffith to Sam Peckinpah, Bea Arthur and Jonathan Pryce; Jack Dodson made friends and history.
Dodson returned to Broadway in the revival of “You Can’t Take It With You” in 1985. Jack was married to television actress Mary Dodson (the sister of actor Fritz Weaver) from 1959 until his death. In his personal life, Jack was very much “Howard”. The actor was a boxing fan, and was also an outdoors man; loving to fish and camp. Jack left us all too soon, at the age of 63, from heart failure. He will be missed.
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