‘Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C’: Jim Nabors ‘Never Thought’ He Would Go Into Acting Due to Small-Town Roots

by Keeli Parkey
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When you think about it, actor Jim Nabors wasn’t exactly born to be a television star. However, fate had different plans even though the man himself originally had no plans for an acting career. The actor became famous thanks to his role as the character Gomer Pyle.

One thing that kept the Alabama native from planning a career in acting was where he was born, according to a report by Grunge.com.

Here’s what he had to say about the issue, according to the publication:

“I was from a small town and, God knows, I was no leading man. You know how Hollywood was back then — everybody was a ‘hero.’ The only thing I could possibly think of was I could have been a character actor in a Western or something. I never had any thoughts of going into the business.”

Luckily for fans of Jim Nabors’ work on “The Andy Griffith Show” and on “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.”, he was able to overcome his humble upbringing to have a successful career.

Interestingly, it was Nabors’ background that helped him make the character of Gomer Pyle so memorable. According to Grunge, the actor had asthma when he was a youngster. This prevented the young Nabors from playing sports.

And, his family did not have the money to give him the treatment he would need if he played sports. So, Nabors decided that music and singing were the avenues for him.

Gomer Pyle Actor Jim Nabors Became a Success Even Though He Didn’t Expect to Be an Actor

According to Grunge, the man who would become Gomer Pyle continued to enjoy performing. He didn’t study the medium when he attended the University of Alabama.

However, he used his fraternity at the school as a way to act. In fact, he acted for the first time in a skit for his fraternity. As much as he enjoyed performing, though, he actually majored in business administration. He did graduate with his B.A. in the field.

Following college, Nabors did not turn to acting as his career. However, he eventually moved to California and it was while living there that he realized he could have a future in the entertainment industry. And, success eventually followed.

Nabors Described the Letter from Ron Howard that Left Him ‘Dumbfounded’

According to IMDb.com, Nabors played Gomer Pyle on “The Andy Griffith Show” from 1962 until 1964. The show, “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.” aired from 1964 until 1969. While working on “The Andy Griffith Show,” Nabors became close to Ron Howard. Howard played Opie Taylor on the show.

Howard was just a youngster when he worked with Nabors on “The Andy Griffith Show.” Even so, he remembered Nabors fondly and even invited Nabors to his 60th birthday party. The note was very memorable for Nabors. He talked about it with Indianapolis Monthly during 2014.

Here’s what Nabors reportedly had to say: “I got a letter from (Ron Howard) the other day, and it was the sweetest note. A very personal thing, and I was dumbfounded to get it. He was talking about how he just turned 60. See, I’ve known Ron since he was 6 years old. He wrote this letter, and he said that he was going to have a party for his 60th birthday. But it coincided with the Academy Awards, and too many of his friends wouldn’t be able to come. He said if he ever did decide to have the party, I would certainly be on the top of the list.”

Outsider.com