A Hollywood icon has passed away. One of the funniest and talented voices of the 1960s and ’70s, this guy starred in two very popular shows making one better and the other possible.
The Alabama native Jim Nabors, who starred as Gomer Pyle on The Andy Griffith Show and on his own sitcom before retiring the wide-eyed, countrified character at the height of his popularity, has died. He was 87.
Nabors died at his home in Hawaii on Wednesday night, his husband told Indiana’s WTHR. Nabors also recorded more than two dozen albums with a rich, operatic baritone voice that surprised those who were used to hearing Nabors exclaim “Gawwwleee!” with a Southern twang on television.
For many years, Nabors sang “Back Home Again in Indiana” during the opening ceremonies for the Indianapolis 500.
In the early 1960s, Nabors was a regular performer at The Horn, a cabaret theater on Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica that showcased new talent, when he was spotted by Andy Griffith, who thought Nabors would be perfect to play a new character on his CBS sitcom. That would be Gomer, a dimwitted, affable mechanic at Wally’s Filling Station in Mayberry and a cousin of Goober (George Lindsey).