Who knew it paid so well to look so stupid. Jim Nabors turned what was meant to be a one-off performance in The Andy Griffith Show’s third season into his own spin-off, Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C. But while Nabors played the hapless buffoon well, he was anything but.
Nabors was multi-talented. He was an amazing singer, a talented actor, and a keen businessman who was worth an estimated $40 million at the time of his death in 2017, according to celebritynetworth.com. He was 87 years old when he died.
At the height of his career in 1966, Nabors was being paid for his television work and earned an extra $40,000 a week to sing and perform comedy in Las Vegas. An inflation calculator estimates that is equivalent to a little more than $330,000 in 2021 dollars.
Nabors’ supposed $40 million estate is even more astounding when you consider that he went into semi-retirement in 1978. Though he did a few movies for his pal Burt Reynolds — Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Cannon Ball Run II and Stroke Ace — he remained largely out of the public eye. He preferred to stay at home at his beautiful ocean-front mansion in Maui, Hawaii.
Jim Nabors Loved Being Gomer Pyle
Fans loved the Gomer Pyle character, and Nabors loved him as well. In fact, he liked the character so much it’s part of the reason he stepped away from show business.
“I felt my career had peaked after Gomer,” he told People in 1986. “I didn’t want to stick around for lesser work.” But even though he did some other roles, Nabors was forever tied to Gomer Pyle. “Everywhere I go people call out, ‘Hey, Gome,’” he says, smiling that goofy Gomer grin, the reporter noted.
Decades later, his opinions hadn’t changed.
“I really love Gomer,” Nabors told the Two Chairs, No Waiting Andy Griffith Show podcast. “I had the good fortune, if you’re gonna play a character, to play as nice a guy as he was.
“People always ask me if I would like to be identified differently and I tell them, ‘Absolutely not!’ I really enjoyed it and still do. I haven’t necessarily made my career totally on Gomer, because I’ve used so much music in my career, but I’ve been very blessed in that I’ve had a diverse career.
“It’s all been really wonderful, because in show business you’re always kind of looking for your next job. It’s a very insecure business. Fortunately, I was never without a job in 40 years.”