You might think your old man is the king of dad jokes. But can you imagine how good dad jokes must be when your father is a comedic icon? In that case, you might never stop laughing.
Karen Knotts had a childhood like no other, even before she saw her legendary pops Don hit it big. Though they butted heads sometimes, this father and daughter shared personal values that paid off in an incredible way decades later.
Plenty of girls dream about meeting Hollywood royalty, but Karen got to live out that fantasy every day. That’s because she was the daughter of famous funnyman Don Knotts, a guy who brought the laughs wherever he went.
When Karen was born in New York in 1954, her childhood started out as fairly normal. After all, her dad was a pretty regular guy, in spite of his knack for cracking jokes and inventing funny characters. But that was about to change.
Soon, the Knotts family would be flipping on the TV to watch their own papa! Don landed his first recurring role on the soap opera Search for Tomorrow and made popular appearances on various variety shows, though his real stardom was still to come.
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Don Knotts became a household name thanks to The Andy Griffith Show, in which he played bumbling deputy Barney Fife. The hit show led to Don winning five Emmy Awards for Actor in a Supporting Role.
Then in her teens, Karen aspired to see her name in lights, just like her father. Don surprisingly wouldn’t entertain her ambitions for a second. He remained adamant that showbiz was no place for a young woman like herself.
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Still, Don couldn’t keep Karen away from the cameras forever. She made a few early TV appearances, some of them right alongside her dad on The Don Knotts Show.
YouTube / Karen Knotts
Seeing her determination, Don had no choice but to support Karen from there on out. He sent her to study at the prestigious USC School of Cinematic Arts, plus he helped her nab a couple of high-profile roles.
Notably, she had a small role as Opie Taylor’s receptionist in Return to Mayberry, a 1986 made-for-TV film that reunited most of the cast of The Andy Griffith Show. Karen was now permanently connected to her dad’s most famous character.
Karen also started performing in more comedy clubs around the country, harkening back to her father’s theater roots. While Don enjoyed seeing his little girl succeed, he also opened up to her about why he thought humor was so important.
Don stressed that fame was never the most important part of the equation. As a young man who grew up “dirt poor” and in a household terrorized by an abusive father, he developed a strong funny bone to get through these tough times.
That, more than anything else, was the comedy lesson that stood out to Karen. Glitzy parties and red carpet premiers were nice, but humor was really about helping people. But that truth wouldn’t really hit home until years later.
Facebook / Tied Up In Knotts
Don’s star continued to rise, notably for his role as landlord Ralph Furley in Three’s Company. After that, he mostly stuck to smaller film roles and voice acting as he transitioned into semi-retirement.
Meanwhile, Karen continued performing on stage and appearing in various film projects. But as the years dragged on, she couldn’t help but feel a little bit concerned about her dear father.
His health declined in the early 2000s, and the doctors soon confirmed the worst. Don, who seemed invincible for so long, had lung cancer. Karen made a point of spending as much time in the hospital with him as possible. Her time there really surprised her, too.
In fact, Don kept making jokes and funny faces the entire time! Karen found herself having to flee out into the hallway to laugh since she didn’t want to seem like she was making fun of her ailing dad.
Looking back on that period, Karen realized that laughing in her dad’s face is exactly what her dad wanted! Even when seriously ill, he tried to make other people happy. When he passed away in 2006, he truly died as he lived.
That selflessness touched Karen, who has dedicated most of her subsequent career to celebrating her father’s works. In a business full of posers and cheats, she was proud to show people that Don Knotts was a genuine treasure.
In 2008, Karen debuted a one-woman play that brought her entire life full-circle. Titled Tied Up In Knotts, the performance retold her childhood as the daughter of comedy royalty. There’s no doubt that somewhere out there, Don is still laughing.
It’s certainly no picnic balancing parenting and stardom, but Mr. Knotts did an admirable job. And if you don’t believe us, these hilarious mishaps from iconic celebrity moms prove just how off-the-rails Hollywood families can get!
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Jennifer Garner: When it’s early in the morning and you have multiple little ones sprinting around the kitchen demanding breakfast, it’s easy to mix up names every now and then. Garner admits her memory has floundered on more than one occasion!
Kim Kardashian: Once you become a mom, there are certain activities that may need to take a back seat to new responsibilities. Kim Kardashian learned to spray tan a little less after her first child, North, ended up with bronzer on her mouth post-breastfeeding!
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Serena Williams: You might think there’s nothing that can stop a powerful and imposing athlete like Williams, but think again! During one Twitter rant, Williams admitted her frustration with trying to figure out her child’s stroller!
Pink: No parent wants to receive a call from the school principal regarding a potty mouth, but it happens. During an appearance on Ellen, singer Pink admitted her daughter was quickly picking up on foul language and called her an “adorable little sailor.”
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Julie Bowen: The Modern Family star mastered the skill of driving while pumping milk after having twins, and it led to an embarrassing situation one afternoon. While in bumper-to-bumper traffic, officers approached her vehicle while the pump was still attached to her!
Hillary Duff: When the Younger star brought her two-year-old son Luca into the ornament section of Bloomingdale’s, she quickly learned he might be better off away from breakable items. He wasn’t as well-behaved as she’d believed!
Carrie Underwood: No matter how hard you try to stick to a rigid diet, you have to take what you can get sometimes. Underwood has admitted that plenty of her “meals” have consisted of leftover food her kids didn’t finish. Bon appetit!
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Reese Witherspoon: No matter who they have as parents, most kids hate when their moms or dads try to act “cool.” Witherspoon’s kids are all in their teens and especially dislike her use of words like “lit” and her rapping along to Drake.
Chrissy Teigen: While many Hollywood moms might try to act as if their lives are perfect, Teigen’s fans know just how blunt she can be about motherhood. One candid bit of info she shared was that she fell asleep with her breast pump on!
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Khloe Kardashian: It’s hard to keep your thoughts in order when you’re required to remember a million things. Khloe Kardashian learned this when she tweeted about her baby’s one-month birthday only to realize she made a mistake about the date!
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Kristen Bell: Finding time to be intimate with your spouse when you have a full house can be impossible. Bell and husband Dax Shepard were having a little alone time when both of their daughters raided the room! Luckily they played it off like smooth criminals.
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Blake Lively: Kids can be temperamental, and Lively and hubby Ryan Reynolds know this all too well. In fact, they candidly expressed on social media that living with their kids’ mood swings was similar to spending time with a substance abuser. Yikes!
Mila Kunis: While planning a road trip with her daughter Wyatt, Kunis made sure she was over-prepared for any sort of emergency. However, immediately after pulling out of the driveway, she gasped when she realized she never buckled Wyatt in!
Christina Applegate: In an interview with People magazine, Applegate admitted she sometimes just stands in her home amidst the chaos of her kids and thinks, “I’m not doing any of this right!” Rest assured there are millions of moms thinking the same exact thing.
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Olivia Wilde: Any parent will tell you it’s hard to go back to work after having a kid. For actress Olivia Wilde, becoming a mom came with an overwhelming desire to ditch the fast-paced Hollywood life to play “endless rounds of Itsy Bitsy Spider” with her young one.
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Halle Berry: Even though she’s fulfilled by her career, Berry admitted feeling the pangs of guilt for spending way too much time away from her kids while working on different projects.
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Nicole Richie: Kids have a special ability to push parents to the brink of madness sometimes. Back in 2013, Richie tweeted about one tension-filled morning where she and her husband Joel Madden had gotten into five different fights before nine in the morning due to their kids.
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Tyra Banks: There was one time this superstar was so frazzled she only time for either showering or feeding her baby! Her hubby swooped in at the last second, the baby ate, and Banks got to bathe!
Kelly Clarkson: When the country singer first shared photos of her child Remy on Twitter in 2016, she attached the quote, “Meet Remy, our newest edition to the family!” But, “edition” should have been spelled “addition.” Whoops, mommy brain!
Heidi Pratt: Obviously women are strongly urged to avoid alcohol during pregnancy, and The Hills star Heidi Pratt was no exception. After 10 months of sobriety, she admitted to being completely deseperate to get back to drinking wine.
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