Andy Griffith was a bit like Ben Matlock

"I get inside Ben Matlock and make Ben Matlock do what I want him to," said Griffith.

CBS Television Distribution

While no man has to live exactly like the man he plays on screen, Andy Griffith does have a habit of playing charming Southern men, a portrayal he seems to come by honestly in his own life.

An article for The Charlotte Observer recalled that Griffith had called Matlock "oddball," "vain" and "very bright." While not all of these traits can be considered polite, Griffith explained that in many ways, he wasn't similar to Ben Matlock in the ways he was like Andy Taylor. "See, as an actor, I get inside," Griffith said. "Ben Matlock doesn't get inside of me, I get inside Ben Matlock and make Ben Matlock do what I want him to. Things I could never do in my life. Because I'm not vain, I'm not cheap. And I'm not real bright."

"But I can cause this man to do anything I want him to," he continued. "I can do it with my pencil. And I can do it with my mind. And I can do it with my acting. And it's a great power. Because I've created a person who lives and breathes."

However, according to Encyclopedia of Television Law Shows: Factual and Fictional Series About Judges, Lawyers, and the Courtroom, written by Hal Erickson, Griffith revealed that he and Matlock seemingly shared a sense of duality, appreciating the calmness of a simple life though still incredibly wealthy. "I've kept one foot in one part of the world [Hollywood] and one foot in another [North Carolina]."

It seemed that Griffith's willingness to admit just how alike he and Ben Matlock were depended on his perspective of himself as well as the character at the time.

The book also reported that in a later TV Guide interview, Griffith claimed that the real man that Matlock resembled was Jack Benny. "[Matlock's] a very bright, cagey guy," Griffith said. "He's very vain and cheap. I always loved Jack Benny. And I do little takes of Jack Benny as Matlock."

Regardless of how much of Ben Matlock is Andy Griffith and how much is Jack Benny, it's still always a delight to watch Matlock work his magic in the courtroom.

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