Nor was Karen shy about mentioning her dad’s difficult upbringing. Shockingly, Don had grown up with an alcoholic and mentally ill father who had even been known to threaten his son at knifepoint. “[Don] had problems with his father and an older brother who tormented him because they were alcoholics,” Karen told Closer.
When Don’s father passed away, then, it was something of a blessing to the 13-year-old future comedian. “At that point, that burden – that huge burden – lifted off of [Dad], and he became old enough that he was able to get the other brother under control, [meaning] he was no longer terrorized at home,” Karen explained.
It seemed that life improved for Don, too, when he started attending Morgantown High School in West Virginia. His daughter revealed to Closer, “[Dad] just blossomed, and he said those high school years were the best years of his life. He was class president every year, [and] he had a column in the yearbook that was called ‘Dots and Dashes by Knotts.’”