George Lindsey, whose alter-ego, Goober, was synonymous with humor from the South, has died. He played the dimwitted gas-station attendant on The Andy Griffith Show, Mayberry R.F.D., and later, a derivative of the character on Hee-Haw. Lindsey had replaced Jim Nabors, when the actor was given a television spin-off based on his character, Gomer Pyle.
George Lindsey became a Broadway actor after trying out teaching in his native Jasper, Alabama. He co-starred in popular musicals, All American and Wonderful Town. In films, he was cast in Ensign Pulver, Cannonball Run II, and Take This Job and Shove It. Ernest Borgnine and Ray Stevens were his pals.
But, television would define Lindsey’s career. He had guest roles on The Rifleman, Voyage To the Bottom of the Sea, The Wonderful World of Disney, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, The Twilight Zone, The Real McCoys, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, Love American Style, CHiPS, M.A.S.H., and NewsRadio. He also appeared in several episodes of Gunsmoke.
Goober Pyle was an everyman who thought he had some sort of talent. The character was a reliable foil to the comedy provided by Don Knotts. An awful impression of Cary Grant was also priceless (Judy, Judy, Judy…). Over the years, George kept in contact with Andy Griffith.
In reality, Lindsey was nothing like Goober. He annually raised money for a regional Special Olympics and University of North Alabama academic scholarships. Each year, the George Lindsey/UNA Film Festival took place in the Spring, which honored young filmmakers. He was the 1997 recipient of the Minnie Pearl Lifetime Achievement Award, and received the first ICON Award presented by the Nashville Associations of Talent Directors in 2007.
Let’s take a moment to remember a gas station just outside of Mayberry, on your way to the fictional city of Mount Pyle, North Carolina. George Lindsey was 83.
Until next time> “never forget”