Nancy Stafford

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Nancy Stafford
Nancy Stafford.jpg
BornNancy Elizabeth Stafford
(1954-06-05) June 5, 1954 (age 60)
Wilton Manors, Florida, USA
Years active1977–present
Spouse(s)Larry Myers (1989–present)
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Nancy Stafford
Nancy Stafford.jpg
BornNancy Elizabeth Stafford
(1954-06-05) June 5, 1954 (age 60)
Wilton Manors, Florida, USA
Years active1977–present
Spouse(s)Larry Myers (1989–present)
Beauty pageant titleholder
EducationUniversity of Florida
Height5' 9" (1.75 m)
Hair colorBlonde
Eye colorBlue
Title(s)Miss Ft. Lauderdale 1976
Miss Florida 1976
Miss America 1977

Nancy Elizabeth Stafford (born June 5, 1954) is an American actress, speaker and author, known for her roles in television. She came to prominence in the 1980s as Ben Matlock's (played by Andy Griffith) law partner and friend, Michelle Thomas, on Matlock. She hosted a syndicated TV series called Main Floor (1995–2005), a show about fashion and beauty.


Stafford was born in Wilton Manors, Florida, a suburb of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, where she was raised in a Southern Baptist home. In a 2008 interview with Christians in Cinema, she said that she had been a born-again Christian, since she was eight years old. But, before she attended college, attending her family's local church was full of hypocrisy. By the time she was a teenager, she had also lived a prodigal life, before she returned to Jesus.[citation needed] After graduating from Ft. Lauderdale High School in 1972, she was Miss Florida 1976, competing in the 1977 Miss America Pageant. She began her career working as a public relations specialist. In addition, she worked as a top model in New York at the Ford Model Agency. Her career was going strong until she was diagnosed with skin cancer. She underwent successful surgery in 1978. That same year, she became a spokesperson in 250 commercials, before she began her career in acting.

In 1982, she moved to Los Angeles, where she had her first guest-starring role playing the dual role of Adrienne/Felicia Hunt on the soap opera The Doctors, the show she grew up watching. This led to other roles on shows such as: Riptide, Remington Steele, Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Who's the Boss?, Hunter, Quantum Leap, and Magnum, P.I. In an interview, Stafford said that she wanted to work with Tom Selleck, who also helped launch her career. Stafford joined the cast of season two of St. Elsewhere, as Joan Halloran, opposite the late Ed Flanders and popular producer Norman Lloyd. She played the role for three seasons. She also starred as Patricia Blake on Sidekicks, which lasted one season.

After a decade of working with legendary stars, despite being a struggling, unfamiliar actress, her most prominent television role was as Ben Matlock's assistant Michelle Thomas on Matlock, opposite Andy Griffith, from 1987 to 1992, replacing Linda Purl, who left after the first year because she had contractual problems with her character and castmates.[citation needed] Stafford had been a lifelong Griffith fan, since the early 1960s, as a six-year-old girl.[1] Stafford auditioned and won the role. Before she played Michelle, she guest starred on the same show in 1986, where she played a call girl. According to a 2010 interview with the actress on On Screen and Beyond, there was a remarkable on- and off-screen relationship between Stafford and Griffith. When co-star Kene Holliday who played Tyler Hudson in the series, got fired from the show, prior to attending rehab, after being 3 months sober, from his long battle against alcohol and drugs, Clarence Gilyard who played Conrad McMasters replaced him. At the same time, her on-screen appearances on Matlock were reducing; hence; she was unavailable to come to the set everyday due to her busy scheduling.[citation needed] She left the show to spend more time with her family, and also moving on to other ventures. She was grief-stricken, when on July 3, 2012, her mentor, childhood television hero and TV lawyer, Andy Griffith, passed away. Prior to his death, Stafford released a statement: "I'm heartsick....I am forever grateful for the 5 wonderful years I worked with Andy. They were a highlight of my life. I've never laughed so hard or learned so much! He has left an indelible mark on my life – and the lives of countless millions. He was a consummate professional, an American treasure, and a dear man."[2]

After her departure from Matlock, she became a world-renowned public speaker, traveling all over from churches, colleges, universities, women's group to other businesses. During the 1990s, she was the host of Main Floor, which was a talk show that was seen in over forty countries. In 2008, she co-hosted the first season of Love, Marriage and Stinkin' Thinkin alongside Mark Gungor.

Stafford also guest starred in many shows in the late 1990s, such as ER, Frasier, Babylon 5, Baywatch and most recently, The Mentalist. Additionally, she played "The Lady in the Park" in the 2004 award-winning short film The Proverb.[3]

She is also the best-selling author of many Christian books such as: Beauty by the Book: Seeing Yourself as God Sees You; The Wonder of His Love: A Journey into the Heart of God, and her 2006 book, Mothers & Daughters Taking Your Adult Relationship to a Deeper Level.

From 1984 to 2009, Stafford was the spokeswoman for City Furniture (known as Waterbed City from 1971 to 1994), a South Florida-based chain of furniture stores.


Stafford graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in journalism.

Personal life[edit]

Husband Larry Myers is a pastor. They have a daughter and grandson.

Her older brother Tracy Stafford was a two-term Mayor of Wilton Manors and a five-term member of the Florida House of Representatives.



2007Wager, TheThe WagerAnnie Steele
2011Christmas with a Capital CKristen Reed
2012Race to the FinishJulie
2013ForeclosedTerri BoydShort film
2013Superheroes Don't Need CapesJenny
2013Season of MiraclesNurse Barbara
2013Christmas for a DollarMrs. Rathbone


1982Doctors, TheThe DoctorsAdrienne / Felicity Hunt1 episode
1983Lone StarAmanda TalbotTV film
1983-1986St. ElsewhereJoan HalloranRegular role (30 episodes)
1984Who's the Boss?Trish BaldwinEpisode: "Sorority Sister"
1985RiptideLt. Peggy BurkeEpisode: "Prisoner of War"
1985HunterNell ArmstrongEpisode: "The Avenging Angel"
1985Magnum, P.I.Amy GriswaldEpisode: "The Treasure of Kalaniopu'u"
1985Scarecrow and Mrs. KingColleen DonnellyEpisode: "Flight to Freedom"
1985Remington SteeleJennifer DavenportEpisode: "Stronger Than Steele"
1986You Are the JuryDiane BlakeEpisode: "The State of Arizona vs. Dr. Evan Blake"
1986D.C. CopsMolly St. ClairTV film
1986-1987SidekicksPatricia BlakeMain role (23 episodes)
1986MatlockCaryn Nelson / Caroline NathanEpisode: "The Seduction"
1987U.S. Marshals: Waco & RhinehartJoyceTV film
1987-1992MatlockMichelle ThomasMain role (108 episodes)
1990Quantum LeapPeg MyersEpisode: "Miss Deep South - June 7, 1958"
1993Moment of Truth: A Child Too ManySharon DavisTV film
1993Saved by the Bell: The College YearsJudith TrudellEpisode: "The Poker Game"
1995Deadly Invasion: The Killer Bee NightmareKaren IngramTV film
1996FrasierClaire BarnesEpisode: "Moon Dance"
1996Babylon 5Dr. Mary KirkishEpisode: "Messages from Earth"
1997BaywatchCassie RoseEpisode: "Rendezvous"
2003Judging AmyJudge BellEpisodes: "Motion Sickness", "The Wrong Man"
2008Mentalist, TheThe MentalistRosemary TennantEpisode: "Seeing Red"
2013Assumed KillerDr. WestonTV film

External links[edit]


Preceded by
Ann K. Schmalzried
Miss Florida
Succeeded by
Cathy La Belle