Book Review: “Tied Up in Knotts”

Comedian Don Knotts’ life story is told by his daughter, Karen Knotts. The book is available from Amazon and all of the usual places.

I recently bought an Amazon Fire so that I could download books and read them with a bright light behind somewhat enlarged type. Upon receipt, I downloaded a true murder mystery, the kind of story I typically enjoy. However, in this story the author was meticulous about describing all the characters–none of which lived a heroic and even an admirable life. For the first time while reading a book, I decided I didn’t care who was murdered, why the murder was committed or who did it! I stopped reading the book.

Then I found another true story, a biography of comedian Don Knotts by his daughter Karen Knotts. I had always enjoyed Don Knotts on the Andy Griffith Show, but that’s about all I knew about him.

Turned out I really enjoyed Tied Up in Knotts: My Dad and Me. Daughter Karen writes a personal story, with any small incidents told by her and others. The book includes a lot about her own life, but the narrative focuses on Knotts’ rise to stardom first, from an abusive home, then as a student ventriloquist, an entertainer in the service, a radio actor, a Broadway actor, a television comedian, a movie star, a voice-over actor and then a popular live theater star. I frankly had not known Knotts was ever a ventriloquist and I didn’t remember (if I ever knew) that he had quite a successful movie career. Thankfully, Knotts also comes off as a very talented fellow, low key in real life, beloved by his co-stars.

I sure as heck didn’t know the 5’6-1/2″, 140-pound Knott had had three wives. Knotts did not seem to me like a man whose physical presence would have been that attractive to women. However, I do agree a sense of humor can be very attractive, and friends said Knotts was considered a “ladies man.” Knotts was also somewhat of a weekend hypochondriac which eventually affected a couple of his marriages.

Daughter Karen also mentions her father’s struggles with anxiety, alcohol and pills and her own mental struggles, but these subjects, I gather, were just in passing and were not particularly significant. Instead we find out about a lifelong friendship between Don Knotts and Andy Griffith, something I didn’t expect, having read gossip in the past about Griffith not being such a nice guy. With Knotts, to the very end, Andy Griffith was a great friend.

So yes, I recommend this book. It’s rather easy reading and if you react as I did, being more and more curious about Knotts’ career outside of Mayberry (and his five Emmy awards), it may send you to a movie or a YouTube clip. Me? I went to YouTube and sat laughing anew at this very funny one-of-a-kind gentleman. And in view of the news of the day, some new laughs were just what the doctor ordered. Enjoy the clip below:


4 responses on “Book Review: “Tied Up in Knotts”

  1. Thanks for the book review. I really enjoyed the clip. He was such a funny guy.

  2. I should have mentioned in this review that former Las Vegas singer and personality Maggie Peterson, who passed away recently, is mentioned frequently in this book. Peterson made several appearances on the Andy Griffith Show and became a well known guest star on the show, later participating in severa Andy Griffith reunion shows.

  3. Guess Don Knotts was a pretty funny guy. I hadn’t thought about him in a few years…fun watching the weather clip! Glad you enjoyed his Daughter’s book.

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