Nancy Stafford starred opposite Andy Griffith in Matlock for five seasons. She played Michelle Thomas. In the beginning, she was Ben’s assistant. Later in the show, she became his partner. Off-screen, Stafford is a successful actress and author.
Back in February, Stafford sat down with Fox News to talk about her work on television and film. During the interview she talked about her time on St. Elsewhere, her faith, saying “no” in Hollywood, and her time on Matlock.
Former Matlock Star on the “Most Surprising” Thing About Andy Griffith
Matlock was an incredible show. It allowed the iconic Andy Griffith to continue beaming into the homes of television audiences. At the same time, it gave viewers some wholesome entertainment that they could enjoy with the entire family.
During the interview, Fox News asked Stafford what she found most surprising about Andy Griffith. The first thing that came to her mind was her Matlock co-star’s work ethic. She said that every page of every script had Griffith’s fingerprints on it. To him, it was more than a television show. It was about building characters that would have a positive cultural impact. It was this desire to be a positive influence, Stafford said, that led Griffith to work so hard.
However, it wasn’t just his work behind the scenes on Matlock that impressed Stafford. She said that Andy Griffith would memorize his courtroom scenes. Griffith would treat his legal arguments like a monologue. The seasoned actor would spend all the time he needed to make sure everything about his performance was perfect. Stafford recalled that after delivering his monologues in the courtroom, Andy would get a standing ovation from the cast. He was so great at what he did that he moved everyone on set. Part of that was Griffith’s incredible talent as an actor. However, much of it came from how hard he worked at his craft. In fact, Stafford said that she had never seen work as hard as Andy Griffith did on Matlock.
On the other hand, Michelle Stafford said that it wasn’t all business on the set of Matlock. Andy Griffith worked hard to make sure they were putting out a solid show. However, he kept the atmosphere on set fun and light-hearted. This is something that Andy Griffith would strive for since his earliest days on television. He knew how to balance hard work with a healthy environment.
Overall, Michelle Stafford said that every day working with Andy Griffith was like a masterclass in acting.