Jim Nabors, 82, the singer/actor star of the 1960s sitcom Gomer Pyle, USMC married his longtime partner, Stan Cadwallader, 62, in a ceremony in Seattle in December. According to Hawaii News Now:
Nabors declined an on-camera interview but spoke to Hawaii News Now by phone.
“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,” Nabors said. “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.”
…Before they were married, Nabors said, “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.”
The fact that Nabors is gay was never much of a secret among his co-workers, friends and others who knew him, although he never was formally out in the media. On the other hand, he was among the few gay actors who didn’t play the publicity game of “dating” women for the benefit of papparazzi.
When he worked full-time in Hollywood in the 1960s and 1970s, Nabors said he was open about his homosexuality to co-workers and friends but never acknowledged it to the media until now.
“I haven’t ever made a public spectacle of it. 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,” Nabors said.
“This is really no big deal. My friend and I, my partner, we went through all of this 38 years ago,” Nabors added. “So I mean, we made our vows and that was it. It was to each other, but nevertheless, we were a couple.”
The Sylacauga, Alabama, native moved to Los Angeles because of his asthma, where he worked as a film cutter by day and sang in local clubs at night. He also acted in skits in cabaret theater, where he developed a character that would eventually become Gomer Pyle. In those skits, he would sing in a deep, serious baritone before speaking in a high pitched, southern-accented comedic voice. That’s where Andy Griffith discovered him and signed him to a one-episode role on The Andy Griffith Show. His character, auto mechanic Gomer Pyle, proved to be so popular that Nabors soon became a regular for two season. In 1964, Gomer joined the Marines and Nabors got his own spin-off program which ran until 1969.