Jim Nabors, the man who came to fame playing a goofy but lovable auto mechanic turned Marine named Gomer Pyle on The Andy Griffith Show (and later his own titular spin-off), is finally out as a gay man — thanks to Washington's new marriage equality law. According to Hawaii News Now, the Honolulu-based Nabors and his partner of 38 years, Stan Cadwallader, got married at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel Seattle on January 15.
Nabors told Hawaii News Now, "It's pretty obvious that we had no rights as a couple, yet when you've been together 38 years, I think something's got to happen there, you've got to solidify something. And at my age, it's probably the best thing to do. I'm 82 and he's in his 60s and so we've been together for 38 years and I'm not ashamed of people knowing, it's just that it was such a personal thing, I didn't tell anybody. I'm very happy that I've had a partner of 38 years and I feel very blessed. And, what can I tell you? I'm just very happy."
The duo met in 1975. Cadwallader was a firefighter who later began working with Nabors, who told the publication that he's not an activist and he's always been out to coworkers and friends but never to the media. "I haven't ever made a public spectacle of it," he told Keoki Kerr. "Well, I've known since I was a child, so, come on. It's not that kind of a thing. I've never made a huge secret of it at all."
Kerr asked Nabors if he had advice to young people coming out. "I really don't have any advice. I don't think I'm qualified because I just could handle it my own way. And you don't ever understand what people look down on you, or say cruel things to you about that sort of thing, but nevertheless, that's just life, and you just have to get above it."
Nabors starred in several TV series, including Gomer Pyle, USMC; The Jim Nabors Show; The Jim Nabors Hour; The Carol Burnett Show; and The Muppets. He was famed for his deep baritone singing voice, and he released 28 albums during his career.