Jim Nabors is best known for his role as the bumbling, beloved Gomer Pyle during two hit TV series in the 1960s, but he's also earned accolades for a rich baritone singing voice and the release of more than two dozen albums of pop vocals and gospel music.
Nabors sang in high school and in his church choir, and began dabbling in acting while a business student at the University of Alabama. After graduation, he moved to New York City and briefly worked as a typist at the United Nations, followed by work as a film cutter in Chattanooga, Tenn.
He moved to the West Coast and worked at NBC as a film cutter, while performing at night at The Horn, a cabaret club in Santa Monica. During one performance, his act was seen by Andy Griffith, who soon hired Nabors to appear as the hometown gas station attendant Gomer Pyle in an episode of “The Andy Griffith Show,” which led to a recurring role.
The popularity of the character led to a hit spinoff series, “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.,” which premiered in 1964 and had the good-natured Pyle joining the Marines. It was a top-rated show for five seasons before it was canceled by CBS. From there, he hosted “The Jim Nabors Hour” until 1971, followed by several guest appearances on network TV shows, and then another variety show, “The Jim Nabors Show” for the 1977-78 season.
In the '80s, Nabors was recruited for supporting roles in the Burt Reynolds comedies “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” “Stroker Ace” and “Cannonball Run II.” In 1986, he played Gomer Pyle once more in the reunion TV movie “Return to Mayberry,” joining surviving cast members from “The Andy Griffith Show.”
He moved to Hawaii and performed "The Jim Nabors Polynesian Extravaganza” nightly at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. He survived a liver transplant in 1994 and continues to live in Hawaii, where he owns a macadamia nut farm.
Nabors was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1991.