Jim Nabors, who is best remembered for his role as Gomer Pyle on The Andy Griffith Show, has died at the age of 87.
Nabors, an Alabama native, died in his Hawaii home from health complications.
He career in Hollywood began after being discovered in Los Angeles, after moving therer because of his asthma, doing a cabaret show at The Horn. According to his IMDb bio, he combined “his gifts for classical singing and gawky hick characterizations” to create a unique schtick.
His most notable part, one which transcends generations, was as Gomer Pyle. Starting as a walk-on part for The Andy Griffith Show, Nabors, played a dim-witted mechanic. He was so popular he portrayed the character there for two years until Gomer joined the U.S. Marines. This led to a spinoff series, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. that ran for five years. He chose to leave the series saying the only part he wanted to play was Gomer.
“It got down to what you think you want to be: an actor or an entertainer. I want to entertain. I don’t think I’m much of an actor. The only part I ever played was Gomer. I’m the most surprised person around that I’m successful anyway.”
He went on to do a variety show, the Jim Nabors Hour which earned him a daytime Emmy nomination.
Nabors also appeared on other variety and talk shows such as Sonny & Cher, The Tonight Show, The Dean Martin Show, The David Frost Show and The Joey Bishop Show. Thought of by Carol Burnett as her good luck charm, he appeared on each season’s premiere The Carol Burnett Show.
As a singer Nabors had equal success, recording 28 albums. Five of them went gold and one went platinum. He earned a gold record for his rendition of “The Lord’s Prayer.” He also sang “Back Home Again in Indiana” during the opening ceremonies for the Indianapolis 500.
He is survived by his husband, Stan Cadwallader, whom he married at the age of 82, which was also his official coming out.