'Gomer Pyle' star Jim Nabors dead at 87

Gomer Pyle became a beloved household name in the early '60s with Nabors' portrayal of a goofy gas station attendant from the town of Mayberry, North Carolina, on "The Andy Griffith Show."
By Delila James | Dec 05, 2017
Jim Nabors, the popular star of the 1960s television series "Gomer Pyle," has died at age 87.

Nabors reportedly died at his home in Hawaii, according to his husband, Stan Cadwallader. He had heart surgery in 2012, a report by Bloomberg said.

Gomer Pyle became a beloved household name in the early '60s with Nabors' portrayal of a goofy gas station attendant from the town of Mayberry, North Carolina, on "The Andy Griffith Show."

A spin-off series, "Gomer Pyle, USMC," ran from 1964 to 1969 on CBS. Taking place at an imaginary military base in California, the show focused on the rocky relationship between the lovable marine private and Sergeant Vince Carter, played by Frank Sutton.

"Gomer Pyle taught the American people that Marines are people and that they have a sense of humor, in spite of what they go through," said Lieutenant John F. Goodman in 2007 when promoting Nabors to an honorary corporal, as reported by Bloomberg. "I think that brought the Marine Corps closer to the people than any other movie or TV show."

James Thurston Nabors was born in Sylacauga, Alabama, on June 12, 1930. The youngest of three children, he suffered from asthma as a child.

Later, after moving to Los Angeles, Nabors performed at a cabaret club in Santa Moncia called the Horn that featured aspiring comedians. There, during a performance, he was discovered by Andy Griffith.

Nabors married Cadwallader, his partner of 38 years, in 2013. They tied the knot in Seattle just one month after Washington State legalized gay marriage. They lived together in Hawaii.

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