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The Life of Jim Nabors

December 28, 2017

Well gaaaaaaaaaawleeeee. Jim Nabors, the actor best known for portraying lovable dimbulb Gamer Pyle on The Andy Griffith Show and Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. has passed away this month at the age of 87. Here’s a little bit more about the man and his life.

Nabor’s Singing Career

Serving as a stark contrast to Nabors’ embellished high-pitched Southern twang was his tremendously powerful baritone singing voice. Nabors recorded dozens of albums of ballads and easy listening. He scored five gold records and his cover of “The Impossible Dream” from Man of La Mancha was a top 20 hit in Australia in 1968.
From 1972 to 2014, he sang “Back Home Again in Indiana” at the beginning of the Indianapolis 500.

Gomer Pyle

Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. remains one of the most successful spinoffs — and TV sitcoms of any type — in history. It was a top 5 show for four of its five seasons. It was the second-most-watched show on television in 1969 when it was canceled — because Nabors wanted to move on and try something different. CBS quickly came up with The Jim Nabors Hour, a primetime reality show that ran for two years.
The Marines never promoted Gomer Pyle above private rank. But in 2001, the Marines made Nabors an honorary corporal…and bumped him up to lance corporal six years later.

His Private Life

Nabors was a homosexual, but not openly during his time as a major TV star (because almost nobody could be “openly” gay in the ‘60s). However, his friends and coworkers knew, and it was a long-standing rumor outside of Hollywood. So much so that in the 1970s there was a widely disseminated urban legend that Nabors had secretly married Rock Hudson, another actor whose sexuality was the subject of a lot of whispering.
Nabors’s actual partner since 1975, and spouse since 2013: a firefighter from Hawaii named Stan Cadawallader.
Nabors died in Hawaii, where he’d lived for more than 30 years. He owned a 500-acre macadamia nut farm there.
 

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