Renowned Georgia lawyer considered inspiration for ‘Matlock’ dies at 94

ATLANTA — One of Georgia’s most well-known defense lawyers -- who some say was the inspiration for legal drama “Matloc”k -- has died.

Channel 2 Action News confirmed that Bobby Lee Cook died Friday at his home in Cloudland. He was 94.

Cook was reputed to be the inspiration for Matlock’s main character, Ben Matlock, which starred Andy Griffith as a brilliant Georgia attorney. The show aired for nine seasons starting in 1986.

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Cook represented hundreds of accused murderers over the years, including Fred Tokars, who was convicted of arranging the death of his wife Sara in the 1980s and Savannah antiques dealer Jim Williams, whose case was the basis for the best-selling book “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.”

Cook was also part of a team who unsuccessfully tried to win a new trial for Wayne Williams, who was convicted in the deaths of 29 people in the Atlanta “murdered and missing” child cases.

Cook was also known for opening his office in Summerville every Saturday and offering legal advice to anyone who needed it, often for free.

Cook’s storied career spanned 65 years. It’s estimated that he won 80% of his cases.

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