Jim “Gomer” Nabors was 87.

American Profile-

A close call
Nabors’ charmed life almost came to an end in 1994. He was diagnosed with liver failure caused by the hepatitis B virus. The Mayo Clinic, where he went for his annual physical, didn’t hold out much hope.

“He called and said he probably didn’t have much time left,” Burnett remembers. “I said, ‘This is ridiculous.’”

And, despite promising she wouldn’t tell anyone, Burnett immediately got on the phone and hooked her friend up with the head of the transplant division at the University of California-Los Angeles.

Nabors says he was about a week away from death when he was matched with a liver. “When you get a transplant, you can’t pray for the organ, because somebody has to die (in order for you) to get your organ. So I thought, ‘What will be, will be.’ I felt that I had been blessed in my life. I had a great family. I had a great career. I had wonderful friends. If God seemed fit to take me, it was OK.”

But it wasn’t Nabors’ time, and a motorcycle accident in San Diego provided him with the life-saving liver. The operation, and his recovery, made him “aware of the person I am,” he says, “and the person I was trying to be.”

And just who is that?
“I try to be a good person, a nice person,” he says. “One interviewer asked me, ‘What do you want on your tombstone?’ The only thing I could think of was: ‘He was a nice guy.’”

35 Comments on RIP

  1. We were stationed in Hawai’i in the late 90s. I went out with a group of friends for one of their birthdays to a very small restaurant. Jim Nabors was there and one of my extroverted friends asked if he would sing Happy Birthday to our friend. He very nicely declined–no biggie. Later we all started to sing to her and he joined in so we quit singing and he finished! What a delightful man that gave me a lot of smiles over the years.

  2. OK, I hadn’t thought about Ron Howard.
    The ladies being still with us is a surprise. Good for them.
    Ellie was such an attractive character. I’ve read her replacement was “amiable”. I expect the real reason was they’d written themselves into a corner. The audience surely wanted Andy to marry her, which would have completely overturned all the dynamics, so Ellie had to go.
    IIRC both Andy’s girlfriends had made SF movies…The Blob for sure and (I think) Creature From The Black Lagoon?
    And Aunt Bea was one of Klaatu’s rooming house mates in Day The Earth Stood Still.

  3. Interesting observation:
    None of the characters on the show were married – with the exception of Otis. And he was a miserable drunk

  4. I loved that show. I’ve read recently that Frances Xavier (Aunt Bea) was a difficult, disruptive diva on set, but apologized & made peace with Griffith in her final days.
    Also that Griffith & the writers always envisioned the show as taking place during the Depression 1930s. But agreed it would be too complicated to shoot it as a period piece.

    Don Knotts was a comic genius.

  5. Last week I finally watched “No Time For Sergeants” for the first time. Andy G plays basically the Gomer Pyle USMC character, set in the peacetime late ’50s. It made his career, where “A Face In The Crowd” did not.

    I didn’t realize the Gomer Pyle USMC spinoff was a sitcom version of the play.

  6. Yo Doc! Long time no see my friend! 😉

    Remember this joke? Don’t know if it’s true or not but it’s funny.

    “Did you hear Rock Hudson had no friends? But he had Neighbors up the ass!”

  7. @Rufus. You’ve been promoted to PLO.
    Permanent Latrine Orderly.

    Saw it a few weeks back also. I loved that movie as a kid.

  8. I guess he’s the last of the Mayberry cast.

    That conveyor belt of Life just keeps rolling on.

    Opie is still around and is a film director. His daughter is an actress.

  9. MeTV has been running Gomer Pyle,USMC since fall began.
    As a tv heyday kid in the 60s I noticed that Gomer was not much of a mechanic in Mayberry,could hardly pump gas. On his show, he was an ace wrench.

    I always had a thing for Barbara Stuart aka Miss Bunny

  10. Jim Nabors gave me many laughs. I was surprised when his husband announced his death today though.

  11. “G-o-o-o-o-o-lly”
    Go find Captain Kangaroo, Jerry Lewis, and Peter Sellers, then have a good laugh, you made what was simple funny.

  12. Everyone who went through basic training had that one guy who the instructors called Gomer. Ours was a screw-up from Wisconsin who just couldn’t do anything right. We got him through basic, though.

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