The majority of the stars of “The Andy Griffith Show” were renowned for becoming household names. Jim Nabors, who portrayed the affable and straightforward Gomer Pyle, is one of them.
Nabors’ character was not originally intended to have such a large role in the hugely popular television series that ran from 1960 to 1968. He made his acting debut in the third season of the show. Nabors’ performance as a gas station employee in Mayberry, however, turned out to be so well-liked by viewers that he was made a series regular. Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. was a 1964–1969 television series based on the life of his fictional character that followed his enlistment in the military.
Nabors made his television debut on “Today in Dixie” before becoming famous on “The Andy Griffith Show,” and he also sang in the choir at the Grace United Methodist Church in North Augusta. Later on in his career, he would find use for the singing skills he learned here.
Nabors starred on the variety program “The Jim Nabors Hour” when “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.” ended, which gave him the chance to display his baritone singing voice. He kept showing up in different television programs, such as “The Carol Burnett Show,” “The Lost Saucer,” and “The Love Boat.” Nabors consented to appear in three of Burt Reynolds’ movies at his request: “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” which he co-starred in with Dolly Parton, “Stroker Ace,” and “Cannonball Run II.” All of the movies received a lot of unfavorable reviews, and the last one won Nabors a Golden Raspberry Award.
In “Return To Mayberry,” Nabors made a comeback to television to reprise his role as Gomer Pyle and rejoin with the ensemble of “The Andy Griffith Show.” Then Nabors started giving stage performances in Las Vegas and Hawaii.
Nabors wed Stan Cadwallader, who had been her lover for nearly 40 years, in January 2013. He claimed he had never purposefully concealed his sexuality, despite the fact that he had never publicly identified as gay to the press. Shortly after getting married, he admitted to being proud of his relationship.”
“We’ve been together for 38 years; I’m 82 and he’s in his 60s. I’m not embarrassed that others know, but because it was such a private matter, I kept it a secret,” Nabors told the publication.
“I feel quite fortunate to have had a partner for 38 years, and I’m very glad about that. And what else can I say but that I’m overjoyed.”
When Cadwallader was a fireman in Honolulu in the 1960s, Nabors had already met him there. Nabors relocated to the island in the 1970s and acquired a 500-acre macadamia property, which he later sold. He acquired an expansive 5,900 square foot oceanfront plantation home in Honolulu’s Ke’ahamoe Bay in 1992. The two-story house featured five bedrooms, six bathrooms, and an upper-floor living area with access to a covered lanai. The property included a swimming pool and a pool house as well. The estate was sold for $12 million when Nabors passed away, which was roughly $3 million less than the asking price.
In order to exchange vows on January 15, 2021, Nabors and Cadwallader drove from their residence in 2013 to Seattle, where same-sex marriage had been become legal the month before in December 2012. Nabors revealed that a judge officiated at their hotel room’s little wedding. A few of their neighbors’ friends who lived down the street were among the witnesses. Nabors noted that he appreciated the low-key nature of the ceremony.
“I never made it a spectacle in front of the public. I mean, come on, I’ve known this since I was a kid. That is not the case here. I have never kept it a big secret at all,” Nabors said.
“This is actually of no concern. All of this was experienced by my friend and I, as well as my partner, 38 years ago. We took our vows, and that was that. We were a couple, even though it was to each other.”
He stated that getting married was the best decision for both himself and Cadwallader.
“I think something needs to happen there; you need to formalize something when you’ve been together for 38 years. It’s quite evident that we had no rights as a couple. And it’s definitely the best course of action for someone my age.”
Nabors received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1991, but in 1994, while visiting India, he developed hepatitis B, necessitating a liver transplant. After that, Nabors resumed his performing, which he did from 1972 through 2014, including before each Indianapolis 500 race.
However, tragedy struck on November 30, 2017, when Nabors, at 87, passed unexpectedly in his Honolulu home from what are thought to be natural causes. Nabors’ death, according to his husband, came after a protracted illness.
“Everyone agrees that he was a great man. That’s the only thing we can say about him. He will be sorely missed,” Cadwallader said.
Veterans of the entertainment business at the time, like Larry King and Carol Burnett, paid tribute to him after his passing. “Semper Fi, Gomer Pyle,” was the US Marine Corps’ salute to Nabors. Jim Nabors, one of the select few people to be appointed an Honorary Marine, rest in peace.