George "Goober" Lindsey Passes At 83

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George "Goober" Lindsey Passes At 83

Post  Carolina Kat on Sun May 06, 2012 11:16 pm

George Lindsey, Mayberry’s ‘Goober Pyle,’ dies at 83

By Travis Loller, Sunday, May 6, 6:31 PM

George Lindsey, who spent nearly 30 years as the grinning Goober on “The Andy Griffith Show” and “Hee Haw,” died May 6 in Nashville. He was 83.

Mr. Lindsey was the beanie-wearing Goober on “The Andy Griffith Show” from 1964 to 1968 and its successor, “Mayberry RFD,” from 1968 to 1971. He played the same jovial character — a service station attendant — and other roles on “Hee Haw” from 1971 until it went out of production in 1992.

“America has grown up with me,” Mr. Lindsey said in an Associated Press interview in 1985. “Goober is every man; everyone finds something to like about ol’ Goober.”

He joined “The Andy Griffith Show” in 1964 when Jim Nabors, portraying Gomer Pyle, left the program. Goober Pyle, who had been mentioned on the show as Gomer’s cousin, thus replaced him.

Although he was best known as Goober, Mr. Lindsey had other roles during a long TV career. Earlier, he often was a “heavy” and once shot Matt Dillon on “Gunsmoke.”

His other TV credits included roles on “M*A*S*H,” “CHIPs,” “The Rifleman,” “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour” and “Twilight Zone.”

He had movie roles, too, appearing in “Cannonball Run II” and “Take This Job and Shove It.” His voice was used in animated Walt Disney features including “The Aristocats,” “The Rescuers” and “Robin Hood.”

He also did some stand-up comedy. In one of his jokes, Mr. Lindsey describes a football coach, holding a football, asking his quarterback, “Son, can you pass this?”

The player replies: “Coach, I don’t even think I can swallow it.”

George Lindsey was born in Jasper, Ala. His father was a butcher.

He was a 1952 graduate of what is now the University of North Alabama, where he studied physical education and biology and played quarterback on the football team.

In 1956, he attended the American Theatre Wing in New York City and began his professional career on Broadway, appearing in the musicals “All American” and “Wonderful Town.” He moved to Hollywood in the early 1960s and then to Nashville in the early 1990s.

Mr. Lindsey devoted much of his spare time to raising funds for the Alabama Special Olympics. For many years, he sponsored a celebrity golf tournament in Montgomery, Ala., that raised money for the mentally disabled.

The University of North Alabama awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1992, and he was affectionately called “Doctor Goober” by acquaintances after that.

“There’s a residual effect of knowing I’ve made America laugh,” he said in 1985m reflecting on his career. “I’m not the only one, but I’ve contributed something.”

Carolina Kat

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