‘The Andy Griffith Show’: How Ron Howard Says Jim Nabors Was Unlike His Character Gomer

by Michael Freeman
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Known as a bit of a goofball on The Andy Griffith Show, Jim Nabors’ character Gomer Pyle was iconic. It may surprise you to learn Ron Howard stated Nabors wasn’t really like his on-screen counterpart at all in real life.

Earlier this month, Ron Howard’s released memoir, The Boys, which contains life stories with him and his brother, Clint. In it, Howard recalls the shows he’s done and the people he’s met. Among them is Jam Nabors, who as it turns out, differs quite radically from his character on The Andy Griffith Show.

Howard recounts in his memoir being close to George Lindsey who plays Goober. He wasn’t as knowledgeable about Gomer, but notes they got along. “I wasn’t as close with Jim Nabors, though he was an extremely nice man. It took me until the ’80s, when we did the Return to Mayberry reunion film, for me to discover that Jim was not just this friendly “Gollee!” goofball but a worldly, intelligent guy with whom I would enjoy having conversations.”

Unfortunately, the Gomer Pyle actor endured abuse, which Howard didn’t really understand when he was younger. According to him, people called Nabors names because of his sexuality. “I didn’t yet understand that there were gay people all around me, and all across the world. But this was my introduction to the very concept of queerness.”

For reference, Nabors announced in 2013 he was gay and married Stan Cadwallader. The two had been together for some time and tied the knot in Seattle.

A Woman Wielding Razors Once Attacked Jim Nabors

Jim Nabors’ character was known for silly and strange happenings on The Andy Griffith Show. This wasn’t just limited to the show, though. In a bizarre incident, a woman with razors attached to her fingers attacked him. Yes, you read that correctly.

Because Nabors starred in the spinoff Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo invited him to a show to honor the Marine Corps in the late ’60s. You may not have known, but Nabors was also a talented musician and after his performance there, had Marines escort him off the field.

As is common in big events, eager fans reached out to touch the star. However, one woman stood out, as she was pushing through the crowd and crying. The Honolulu Civic Beat covered the event and detailed what made her such a threat. “She swung one of her hands toward his face,” the outlet wrote. “There were razor blades somehow attached to the end of her fingers. Nabors raised his arms to deflect the blow. The razor blades sliced into the skin of one of his arms, leaving blood streaming down it.”

A quick-thinking Marine sprang into action and punched the woman. This gave Nabors the time he needed to escape.

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