Who is Still Alive From the Original ‘Matlock?’

Matlock Andy Griffith, 1985-96, yr. 8
Viacom Productions Inc./Everett Collection

The original Matlock starred beloved actor Andy Griffith as Atlanta defense attorney Benjamin Matlock. Each week, Matlock and his associates would uncover the real story in this gripping courtroom drama. The show aired from 1986 to 1995 and is spawning a reboot in Fall 2024 starring Kathy Bates. As far as the main cast goes, sadly we have lost Griffith, Clarence Gilyard Jr., David Froman, and Richard Newton. Let’s find out who is still alive from the show and what they’re up to now.

Nancy Stafford (Michelle Thomas)


Nancy Stafford

Viacom Productions Inc/Everett Collection; Paul Archuleta/Getty Images

Stafford was one of many stars who played several different characters during the series. In an early episode, she played a sex worker but later returned in the main cast as a lawyer and eventually Matlock’s legal partner Michelle Thomas. After the show ended, she hosted a fashion and beauty talk show called Main Floor and guest-starred in Scandal, Frasier, ER, The Mentalist and more. Stafford is a devoted Christian; when she’s not acting, she is a Christian speaker and author of religious books. She has also appeared in several Christian and Christmas-inspired TV movies. A decade ago, she said that she became more religious after getting diagnosed with cancer but now seems to be in recovery. Stafford most recently starred in a Western film called Far Haven. She has been married to a pastor named Larry Myers since 1989.

Julie Sommars (Julie March)


Julie Sommars

Viacom/Everett Collection; gotpap/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Sommars played Assistant District Attorney, Julie March and was Matlock’s love interest for many seasons. However, she left the show early when Griffith wanted to film closer to his home of Wilmington, North Carolina. Sommars left the show so she could stay close to her family in California and began working in politics. She served on the California Judicial Performance Commission and The Board of Governors for the State of California from 1999 to 2003. She still resides in California with her husband John Karns. This is her fourth marriage but they have been together since 1984.

Kene Holliday (Tyler Hudson)


Kene Holliday

Viacom/Everett Collection; Dario Cantatore/Getty Images

Holliday was a former football player and actor when he appeared in four seasons of Matlock. He later admitted that he was fired from the show due to struggles with drug and alcohol addiction. He has now been sober for decades and spent one of those decades traveling and doing “gospel musicals.” In the ’90s, he wrote a book of poetry called The Book of K-III: The Contemporary Poetics of Kene Holliday about his struggles with getting sober and caring for his mother who had Alzheimer’s. Due to his experience, he became a spokesperson for the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. In addition to his philanthropy work, he continued to act on shows such as Law & Order Criminal Intent, Doogie Howser, The Wayan Bros. and Diagnosis Murder.

Daniel Roebuck (Cliff Lewis)


Daniel Roebuck

Viacom/Everett Collection; Kappa Distribution/Everett Collection

Roebuck played P.I. Cliff Lewis in the later seasons and went on to become one of the more famous faces from the crew. He has appeared in shows such as Glee, Lost, Nash Bridges, 9-1-1 as well as films The Fugitive, Final Destination, The Late Shift, and the Rob Zombie Munsters reboot. In addition, Roebuck and his wife Tammy founded an organization called A Channel of Peace that is dedicated to making wholesome faith-based films. He is set to play Santa Claus in the horror film Terrifier 3 and recently co-wrote and co-directed the film Saint Nick of Bethlehem with Spencer Folmar. Roebuck has also been married three times and has two children.

Brynn Thayer (Leanne MacIntyre)


Brynn Thayer

Craig Blankenhorn/ABC/Everett Collection; Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Thayer played Matlock’s daughter in the show and is perhaps best known for her role in the soap opera One Life to Live. She went on to appear in General Hospital, Suits, The Fosters and 7th Heaven, to name a few. She co-founded the charitable organization ZazAngels in support of actor Michael Zaslow after he died of Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) in 1998. She has been married to David Steinberg since 1994.

Who was your favorite character from Matlock?

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April 2022

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