Jim Nabors (TV’s Gomer Pyle) June 12, 1930 – November 30, 2017
Interview from June of 1997
He was discovered by Andy Griffith while working at a Santa Monica nightclub, and he later joined The Andy Griffith Show as Gomer Pyle. The character proved popular, and Nabors was given his own spin-off show Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. He was best known for his portrayal of Gomer Pyle, but he also became a popular guest on variety shows which showcased his rich baritone singing voice in the 1960s and 1970s, including frequent appearances on the Carol Burnett Show and two specials of his own in 1969 and 1974.
He signed a recording contract with Columbia Records in 1965 and subsequently recorded numerous albums and singles, most of them containing romantic ballads.
Nabors was also known for singing “Back Home Again in Indiana” prior to the start of the Indianapolis 500, held annually over the Memorial Day weekend. He sang the unofficial Indiana anthem almost every year from 1972 to 2014.
Nabors died at his Honolulu, Hawaii, home on November 30, 2017, aged 87
The United States Marine Corps released a statement on Nabors: “Semper Fi, Gomer Pyle. Rest in peace Jim Nabors, one of the few to ever be named an Honorary Marine.