Popular culture had its most enduring image of an open-eyed, good-natured but not-too-intelligent huckleberry in Jim Nabors’ character Gomer Pyle, who died Thursday in Hawaii. He was 87 years old at the time.
As Stan Cadwallader confirmed the death to the Associated Press, he noted that Nabors’ immune system had been damaged by an organ transplant 20 years ago, resulting in the actor’s decline in health. When Nabors died, Cadwallader was by his side at their home in Hawaii.
On The Andy Griffith Show, Nabors introduced his gas station attendant character Gomer with the catchphrases “Shazam!” and “Golly!” (the latter drawn out to four or five lilting syllables) Nabors’ Gomer was a constant irritant to Don Knott’s over-the-top Deputy Barney Fife.
The Beginnings of One’s Life, Education, and Career
A police officer and a housewife were Jim’s parents. The fact that he was raised by two older sisters contributed to his early love of singing, which he pursued both in church and at school. He attended the University of Alabama after graduating high school.
When he was a student at the university, he developed a strong interest in acting by participating in school plays on a regular basis. The following year after graduating from college, he moved to New York City and began working for the United Nations as a typist, but after a year, he decided to move to Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he began working as a film cutter for television shows. His next move was to California, where he continued working for NBC in the same capacity after moving there.
On November 30, 2017, at the age of 87, Nabors died in his Honolulu, Hawaii, home.
On Nabors, the US Marine Corps issued a statement that reads in part: “Gomer Pyle, you’re a warrior. In memory of Jim Nabors, one of only a handful of Honorary Marines, we pray.” As the current Second Lady of the United States as well as Indiana’s first lady, Karen Pence issued the following statement via Twitter “So sorry to hear about Jim Nabors’ passing. At the Indianapolis 500, we heard him sing “Back Home Again in Indiana” over and over again. Our hearts are broken by the loss of his beautiful voice.”
At a memorial service for the late Jim Nabors, actress Carol Burnett described him as “a genius.” “… My heart is heavy… We’ve been friends for 52 years. His influence on my life is something I’m grateful for. He was an important part of my life, and I still miss him. He’s one of my favorite people.” This performance of “Back Home Again in Indiana” was greatly applauded by INDYCAR driver Tony Kanaan. In a statement to Nabors’ family, journalist Larry King described Nabors as a “gentleman with enormous talent” and praised him.
Awakening of Professional Potential
Along with working at his regular place of employment, Bill Dana, the comedian, saw Nabors perform in a cabaret show at The Horn in Santa Monica and offered him an appearance on “The Steve Allen Show” because of his work as a character resembling Gomer Pyle. Because of the show’s abrupt cancellation, he was signed there but failed to make an impression. For his first television role, he was cast as gas station attendant Gomer Pyle on “The Andy Griffith Show” after being discovered by Andy Griffith.
It wasn’t long before he was given his own spin-off show, “Gomer Pyle, USMC,” where he served as a Marine in the United States Marine Corps. Producers made a deliberate effort to avoid depicting the Vietnam War as a theme in the show, instead of focusing on its rural roots. A decision by Nabors to step down from the show was made after five seasons, at which point producers were contacted by Nabors and asked to cancel the show.
Jim married Stan Cadwaller, his longtime partner of 38 years, in 2013 at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel, just one month after the state of Washington legalized same-sex marriage. Cadwaller, a firefighter in Honolulu, first introduced the two in the 1970s.
Jim was rumored to have been romantically involved with Rock Hudson, but reports state that the rumor was the result of a prank made by a group of people in Huntington Beach, which was spread by people who didn’t get the joke, and not Jim himself. At the time, neither Jim nor Hudson had made their sexual orientations public knowledge, but it was widely assumed that they were both gay. They never spoke again after hearing the rumor about their friendship is shattered.
The Net Worth of Jim Nabors
In the neighborhood of $40,000,000
Jim Nabors was an American actor, singer, and comedian who died in 2017 with an estimated net worth of $40 million. “The Andy Griffith Show” and its spin-off “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.” were Nabors’ most famous roles, but he also appeared in a number of other television shows. In the years to come, Nabors would appear on numerous television shows and record a series of highly successful albums that showcased his baritone voice. He performed and toured until the end of his life.
The 87-year-old Jim Nabors passed away on November 30th, 2017. Jim’s heirs put his Hawaiian estate on the market for $15 million in August of last year. While trying to get away from the glare of the limelight, he purchased the nearly-6,000-square-foot house during that decade. It is located in Honolulu, Hawaii, and features 170 feet of unobstructed ocean views from the front porch. As of 2017, Nabors had passed away at the age of 87 at his Honolulu home. He was a close friend of Carol Burnett, and the Marine Corps issued a statement mourning his passing as well.