Question: Did Matlock have more than one daughter? And who played the part? I saw at least three different actresses play it.


Answer: There were two daughters, by my count, Steve, but three different actresses did indeed carry the role. When Diary of a Perfect Murder, the Matlock pilot film, first aired in early 1986, lawyer daughter Charlene Matlock was played by Lori Lethin. However, when the series launched in September on NBC, Linda Purl (Happy Days) handled the daughterly duties. In 1987 Charlene left to start her own practice in Philadelphia and Ben (Andy Griffith) replaced her with Michelle Thomas (Nancy Stafford), who was no relation.

Whatever Charlene said to Ben before she left, it must have been a doozy because when Michelle moved on in 1992, he brought in daughter Leanne (Brynn Thayer), who apparently was his new favorite. She moved with the series when it jumped to ABC in January 1993 and stayed with it until its demise in September 1995.