‘Matlock’: Star Opposite of Andy Griffith Put Hollywood on Back Burner to Write Books on Faith

by Evan Reier

The pursuit of art and faith are not unique. If there’s anyone that proves that’s the case, it’s the former Matlock star behind character Michelle Thomas.

Nancy Stafford helped captivate audiences on Matlock, as she, Andy Griffith and the rest of the show’s cast dazzled the world with drama of law in Atlanta, Georgia.

Granted, it’s worth knowing that Stafford has had a long and successful career outside of the show. From Riptide to Magnum P.I., Stafford made appearances all over television sets for decades.

But as life went on, Stafford found that the thing most important to her was faith. While she still made appearances on television programs, her passion became creating in the name of her Christian faith.

This led her to wrote several books, such as Beauty by the Book: Seeing Yourself as God Sees You and The Wonder of His Love: A Journey into the Heart of God.

Matlock Star Nancy Stafford Talks Faith

In an interview in February of 2020 with Fox News, Stafford opened up on the sensitive topic.

“It’s the central thing in my life,” Stafford said. “It really informs everything about me, everything I do, how I try to live – everything. I am incredibly blessed to have a relationship with God that is vibrant, authentic. God has completely changed my life in ways that I think people who know me are very aware of.”

While vindicated in her faith, Stafford also added that it’s been hard to stick with the life of a Hollywood actor. From the now-66-year-old’s point of view, much of show business just doesn’t get it right.

“I’ve been offered a number of movies from that genre,” Stafford said. “But as I read them, I realized they were theologically wrong, or just continued to perpetuate a stereotype of Christians being shallow and foolish. I have said a number of ‘No’s” to those as well for the same reason.

“It’s got to be truthful. I’ve probably lost out on quite a bit of work. I’ve been fired by agents. But I much rather face myself in the mirror every day and live with integrity than to do something I’ll regret. Film is forever – you can’t take it back.”

She also expanded on saying “no” in Hollywood. Stafford believes Hollywood has gotten “raunchier” over the years, and also added that it’s made doing some of her career’s work an impossibility.

“Honestly, I’ve turned down so much work over the years,” Stafford said. “Because I didn’t want to do that kind of work. It conflicted with my values and it just wasn’t what I wanted to be a part of.”