Jim Nabors, the actor known for his role as Gomer Pyle in the “Andy Griffith Show” and for singing ‘Back Home Again in Indiana’ for 42 years before the starts of the Indianapolis 500, has died today, Thursday, November 30th, 2017, according to multiple reports. He was 87.
Nabors, who recently lived in Hawaii, was born and raised in Sylacauga, Alabama.
He graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in business administration, but later found himself working in TV as an apprentice editor; at much the same time, he also pursued a career as a cabaret singer.
This is where the man was discovered by Andy Griffith while working in Santa Monica and appeared on “The Andy Griffith Show” from 1962 to 1964.
Gomer Pyle, Nabors’ character on the show was a Marine from Mayberry, North Carolina stationed at Camp Henderson near Los Angeles in the 1960s.
The character even had a spinoff show called Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C. which ran for five years from 1964 to 1969.
During the program’s fourth season, in an episode entitled “The Show Must Go On” N
abors sang “The Impossible Dream” from Man of La Mancha, and the song subsequently became a popular part of his repertoire as a performer.
Although feeling typecast for the Pyle role, the actor was known for his many appearances on multiple variety shows in the late 1960s and early 1970s, such as the Carol Burnett Show. He even had his own The Jim Nabors Show in 1977 which lasted a year.
Nabors, with his rich baritone voice, sang the unofficial 1917 James Hanley and Ballard McDonald Indiana anthem ‘Back Home Again in Indiana’ almost every year from 1972 until his final time in 2014, save for health concerns here and there.
He also made many albums as an easy listening balladeer, as Gomer Pyle and as himself.
In 1994, Nabors suffered from a near-fatal case of Hepatitis B, requiring a liver transplant.
In 2013, Nabors married Stan Cadwallader, 64, his companion of 38 years.
He is reported to have died peacefully at his home in Honolulu.
*(thumbnail = AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)