The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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May 24, 2013

No desire to retire: Stafford still singing

BRANSON, Mo. — Jim Stafford has no plans of retiring any time soon.

"I really enjoy what I do, and that helps," said the 69-year-old entertainer. "I have never really thought about not doing it. I don't really know too many entertainers who say 'That's it,' and just stop."

Stafford cites comedian and pianist Victor Borge as a role model and source of inspiration.

"I thought he was the best example of music and comedy that I've ever seen," Stafford said. "I've heard that when he passed away at 92, his family had to cancel 100 concert dates. Some people say, 'Who on earth would still be out there working at that age?' Here's why: Try to find something to do a couple of hours a day when you are retired. It's not that easy. People want something to do."

In his 24th season headlining his own show at The Jim Stafford Theatre, the guitarist, comedian and storyteller said he is still going strong. Stafford said he doesn't consider performing on stage work.

During his career Stafford has enjoyed great successes. Stafford said he enjoyed working on his summer series and "Those Amazing Animals." He also spent three years with "Nashville on the Road" and was a writing supervisor of the "New Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour."

"All of these things just meant the world to me," he said. "It's got to be hard to think of things to do when you are retired. With me, it's like that. If I want to take a full day off I can. I go in at night, do the show in a couple of hours and come on home and catch the TV I missed. What I do is the type of thing people don't quit a lot."

Mickey Gilley is another friend and entertainer Stafford admires.

"He's up in his mid-70s, and he's looking forward to his shows and tour dates," Stafford said of the country crooner. "He still has a ball. He has a blast. You know they don't call it work. They actually call it play. 'Where did you play last night?' they say. As long as people are willing to come see me, I'm willing to do a show for them."

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