Actor and singer Jim Nabors died November 30 in his Honolulu home at the age of 87. After contracting Hepatitis B, Nabors had a liver transplant in 1994 and had been in declining health over the past year.
Nabors was a study in contradiction, he spoke with a high pitched southern drawl but when he opened his mouth to sing, a deep penetrating baritone burst forth.
Best known to millions for his role as Marine Private Gomer Pyle, Nabors released dozens of albums during his career and for many years he performed “Back Home in Indiana” as a part of the pre race ceremonies for the Indianapolis 500 each May on Memorial Day Weekend.
When not performing as a guest on a variety show, Nabors could be seen in Las Vegas, in Hawaii, or performing on stage with a symphony orchestra.
His expressions of “Shazam,” ″Gollllll-lee,” and “Surprise, surprise, surprise” became a part of the lexicon and was spoken by millions around the world.
He was born James Thurston Nabors on June 12, 1930 in Sylacauga, Alabama. The University of Alabama graduate worked in New York City and Chattanooga, Tennessee before making his way to Hollywood and landing his first acting gig on “The Andy Griffith Show.
From there he went on to appear in only a couple of dozen film and television productions including “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”, “The Lucy Show”, “The Rookies”, several episodes of “The Carol Burnett Show”, “The Love Boat”, “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas”, “Stroker Ace”, Cannonball Run II”, an uncredited role in Knight Rider”, and “Return to Mayberry”.
He is survived by his life long partner and husband Stan Cadwallader who was at his s side at the time of his death.
Jim Nabors discography:
“Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C.”
“Jim Nabors Sings Love Me with All Your Heart”
“Jim Nabors by Request”
“The Things I Love”
“Kiss Me Goodbye”
“The Lord’s Prayer and Other Sacred Songs”
“The Jim Nabors Hour”
“Everything is Beautiful”
“Help Me Make it Through the Night”
“The Way of Love”
“Home for the Holidays”
“Home & Country”
“The World of Jim Navors”
“Jim Nabors’ Christmas Album”
“Two on One”
“I See God” “Town & Country”
“22 Great Hymns & Country Favorites”
“Old Time Religion”
“Songs of ”Inspiration”
“Jim Nabors’ Christmas”
“Peace in the Valley”
“For the Good Times”
“Sings the Great Love Songs”