Dare County Sheriff Doug Doughtie says in statement Griffith died Tuesday at about 7 a.m. He says the family will release further information.
His starring role as a small-town sheriff drew upon his own upbringing in Mount Airy, N.C. The show also starred Don Knotts and was one of the top hits of the 1960s and a perennial in reruns.
Griffith later played a shrewd Southern lawyer in another successful series, "Matlock."
Before taking on television, he won wide praise in the 1950s in the Broadway comedy "No Time for Sergeants" and the dramatic film, "A Face in the Crowd."
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)