Gomer Pyle Star Jim Nabors Dead at 87

Jim Nabors, who starred as Gomer Pyle on The Andy Griffith Show and its spinoff Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., has died. He was 87.

Nabors passed away on Thursday morning, according to Hawaii News NowA cause of death has not been reported.

Nabors made his first appearance as Gomer Pyle in Andy Griffith‘s Season 3 episode “The Bank Job.” What was initially meant to be a one-off guest spot turned into a recurring role which spanned 23 episodes. In the Season 4 finale, the character enlisted in the Marines, paving the way for Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., which debuted in September 1964 and ran for a total of five seasons before concluding in 1969. He would reprise the role nearly two decades later, in the 1986 TV-movie Return to Mayberry. 

Following Gomer Pyle, Nabors headlined the CBS variety show The Jim Nabors Hour, which ran for two seasons between 1969-1971. In 1975, he co-starred in the one-and-done ABC sci-fi effort The Lost Saucer. He later hosted the syndicated talk show The Jim Nabors Show, which aired for one season in 1978.

Nabors was also a successful recording artist, releasing 28 albums over the course of his career — five of which were certified gold and one certified platinum. He also made annual appearances at Indianapolis 500, performing “Back Home Again in Indiana” during the opening ceremonies. He last sang at the racing event in 2014.