Director Ron Howard paid tribute to his late Tv dad Andy Griffith on Sunday (30Sep12) during a fan convention in the beloved star's hometown of Mount Airy, North Carolina.

Howard was a child star when he signed on to play Griffith's son Opie on hit U.S. sitcom The Andy Griffith Show in 1960 and the two worked together for eight years.

To honour Griffith, who passed away in July (12) at the age of 86, Howard recorded a special message to be played at the 23rd annual Mayberry Days festival - a three-day fan celebration named after the Tv programme's fictional town.

He said, "Andy's impact on my life and my approach to my work really can't be measured. The balance that he sustained between focused, creative effort and this overt, playful enjoyment that he got out of working hard with people that he liked, doing a show he loved, was something that I hope I'll always remember and emulate...

"He helped me to understand that high achievement and leadership require confidence, yes, hard work, absolutely. But it could be gained while still maintaining humility, humanity and a joyous appreciation for those around him. Like so many others, I'm going to miss you Andy."

The Oscar winner's father, actor Rance Howard, also sent a statement to be read aloud at the celebration: "Andy was an excellent role model, the guardian of good taste and humour. He loved to laugh out loud and long but his motto was, 'I don't want the public to laugh at us, I want them to laugh with us.'"