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Jim Nabors Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (1)  | Trade Mark (2)  | Trivia (20)  | Personal Quotes (3)

Overview (4)

Born in Sylacauga, Alabama, USA
Died in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA  (immune system deficiencies)
Birth NameJames Thurston Nabors
Height 6' 1" (1.85 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Tall, spade-jawed, hopelessly genial balladeer/actor Jim Nabors was born in James Thurston Nabors on June 12, 1930 in Sylacauga, Alabama and raised there, graduating from the University of Alabama. A typing clerk at the United Nations in his salad days, he eventually moved to Los Angeles, California on account of his asthmatic condition and became a film cutter for NBC.

Jim was discovered on stage doing a cabaret act at "The Horn", a now defunct but then highly popular Santa Monica nightclub. Combining his gifts for classical singing and gawky hick characterizations, his highly unique schtick was either ridiculously insane or totally brilliant. Either way this garnered him notice.

Comic Bill Dana caught Jim's act and opted for the latter assessment, inviting him to audition for Steve Allen's TV variety show. Jim went on to appear on Allen's show a number of times. TV star Andy Griffith caught his silly singing "down home" gimmick as well and offered him the part of dim but lovable gas station attendant Gomer Pyle on his popular 1960s sitcom. Jim's career took off like a skyrocket. His sheepish "gawwwleee" and bug-eyed "shazzayam" expressions became part of the American vernacular and it wasn't long before the beloved character would spin off into his own sitcom. Gomer Pyle: USMC (1964) was a solid hit as the bungling, painfully naive, gentle do-gooder found himself hilariously at odds with the Marine Corps and a particularly tough Sergeant Vince Carter (played terrifically by the late Frank Sutton). The sitcom ran a respectable five seasons and Jim solidified himself as a household name.

On the downside of this TV success, Jim found himself inextricably pigeon-holed as a gullible, squeaky-clean hick. As a result, he found work elsewhere, particularly in children-oriented series for Sid and Marty Krofft and Jim Henson. He also decided to refocus on his beautiful baritone voice. Recording a number of romantic, easy listening albums, five of them went gold and one went platinum. He earned a gold record for his rendition of "The Lord's Prayer".

On TV, Jim became a frequent singing/comedy guest performer on all the top prime-time variety and late night shows, including "Sonny & Cher", "The Tonight Show", "The Dean Martin Show", "The David Frost Show" and "The Joey Bishop Show". He also became the annual "good luck charm" opening season guest on close friend Carol Burnett's TV variety series during her twelve-year run. It was enough for CBS to entrust Jim with own TV variety series The Jim Nabors Hour (1968), which ran for two seasons, featured his "Gomer Pyle" co-stars Frank Sutton and Ronnie Schell, and earned him a Golden Globe nomination. A decade later, he returned to the format hosting The Jim Nabors Show (1978), which was short-lived but earned him a daytime Emmy nomination.

Another good friend, Burt Reynolds, was responsible for Jim's theater debut as Harold Hill in "The Music Man" at the Burt Reynolds Dinner Theatre with Florence Henderson as his Marian the Librarian. Jim also appeared in comic support in a couple of Reynolds' films -- The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982) and Stroker Ace (1983).

Nabors was seen on a limited basis in the early 1990s and his life took a serious hit in 1994 when, after years of declining health, he was forced to have a liver transplant. He has returned to the limelight very infrequently (talks shows and reunion shows), preferring the quiet, relaxing life he has in Hawaii and running a macadamia nut plantation.

On January 15, 2013, the 82-year-old Nabors made "coming out" news by marrying his life partner of 38 years, Stan Cadwallader, a retired Honolulu firefighter, at a Seattle hotel after Washington became a "same sex" marriage state a month earlier. The 87-year-old died of an immune disorder on November 30, 2017.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Family (1)

Spouse Stanley Don Cadwallader (15 January 2013 - 30 November 2017)  (his death)

Trade Mark (2)

The role of Gomer Pyle on The Andy Griffith Show (1960) and Gomer Pyle: USMC (1964).
Rich baritone singing voice

Trivia (20)

Considered by Carol Burnett to be her "good luck charm" and as such was a guest star on each season's premiere of The Carol Burnett Show (1967).
Sang "Back Home Again in Indiana" for 42 years during opening ceremonies of the "Indianapolis 500", located in Speedway, Indiana, from 1972 before declining health forced him to discontinue appearing. His final performance was May 25, 2014. However, his first appearance in 1972 was a confusing one. He thought he was invited to sing the National Anthem. But a scant few minutes before he was to perform he found out he was to sing "Back Home Again in Indiana"! In this short period of time, to his credit, (surprise-surprise-surprise) he learned the melody and words and performed it flawlessly. Also as a special gesture to Jim's final performance at Indy, the starting command "Lady and Gentlemen Start Your Engines" was given together by both Mari Hulman George and Nabors, the first time a non-member of the Hulman-George family had given the command for the 500 since 1954.
Received his Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of Alabama. Was a member of Delta Tau Delta International Fraternity.
Before he began acting, he edited news footage for a local television station.
A foundation that awards grants to teachers every year named a grant in Nabors' honor (2003). The foundation is based in Sylacauga, Alabama, his home town.
Has put out 46 albums in his entire recording career.
A smart businessman, Nabors was one of the owners of Gomer Pyle: USMC (1964) which paid off in dividends as a popular syndicated show.
He said that it has always been difficult for him to watch the opening of Gomer Pyle: USMC (1964) because many of the Marines that he is seen marching with were killed in Vietnam.
Was friends with television personality Mary Hart, who helped get the word out that he needed a liver transplant.
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Live Theatre at 6435 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on January 31, 1991.
Was only seen with his on-screen cousin George Lindsey on three occasions: The Andy Griffith Show: Fun Girls (1964), Gomer Pyle: USMC: A Visit from Cousin Goober (1965) and Return to Mayberry (1986).
At age 82, he married 64-year-old Stan Cadwallader, a former firefighter and life partner of some 38 years, in a small ceremony on January 15, 2013, at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in downtown Seattle, where the couple traveled after same sex marriage became legal in Washington State the month before.
Long-standing Hollywood gossip had Jim secretively marrying actor Rock Hudson back in the 1970s. While the two were never more than friends at this time, because of the fear that one or both of them might be "outed" and their careers destroyed, Nabors and Hudson never saw or spoke to each other again in order to help squelch the rumor.
In 1971, Nabors was honored at Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Louisiana, by accepting an invitation to be the king of the Bacchus Parade that same year. There are a broad range of recipients of this honor; for example: Kirk Douglas, Charlton Heston, Will Ferrell, James Gandolfini, Val Kilmer, Andy Garcia, Elijah Wood and Hulk Hogan, to name several.
He was made an honorary Sergeant during the 238th United States Marine Corps birthday ball celebration on November 15, 2013 by General James F. Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps.
He received honors from the University of Alabama on September 2, 2006, before a football game against the University of Hawaii.
He resided in Honolulu, Hawaii on property that has a working macadamia nut farm.
Following his death, he was cremated and his ashes were sprinkled off Honolulu, Hawaii.
Mike Johansen graduated from high school on his 56th birthday.

Personal Quotes (3)

I think this story sums up my career the best. One time I was walking in an airport somewhere and I saw this woman with her young son. The son looked up at me and it was obvious that he recognized me. He thought for a second and he said 'Mom, there goes an old Gomer!'
I never knifed anybody in the back. It was just not my nature at all and that is why I was so surprised that I made it in show business at all.
It's pretty obvious that we had no rights as a couple, yet when you've been together 38 years, I think something's got to happen there, you've got to solidify something. And, at my age, it's probably the best thing to do. -- JN, on his same-sex marriage to life partner Stan Cadwallader in 2013

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