On this day, nine years ago, George Lindsey, known for his role on “The Andy Griffith Show,” died at 83.
Lindsey was born in 1928 in Fairfield, Alabama, to George Ross Lindsey and his wife, Alice Smith. His grandparents raised him in the small town of Jasper. Before he graduated high school in 1946, he was active in his school’s theater program.
He attended Kemper Military School and Florence State Teacher’s College, where he majored in physical education and biology. He was a quarterback on the football team and acted in plays until he received his college degree in 1952.
Following college, he enlisted in the United States Air Force. After he was discharged in 1956, he had a brief teaching stint at a high school while waiting to be accepted by the American Theater Wing in New York City. In 1960, he booked his first on-camera gig when he appeared on “To Tell the Truth.” After graduating from the Wing and performing on Broadway, he moved to Los Angeles. Once there, he booked parts in TV series including “Gunsmoke,” “The Rifleman,” The Real McCoys.” He also had appearances on “The Twilight Zone,” “Daniel Boone,” and “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.” He also starred in “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour” before he got the role on “The Andy Griffith Show.”
George Lindsey Remembered For Role On ‘The Andy Griffith Show’
Yet, he initially went out for a different part on the show. Directors on “The Andy Griffith Show” asked Lindsey to audition for the role of Gomer Pyle. However, they ultimately cast Jim Nabors for the role.
When Nabors’ portrayal of Gomer Pyle became so popular, the show created a spin-off program. In that show, Lindsey was cast as Gomer’s cousin: Goober Pyle. For seven seasons, four on the “The Andy Griffith Show” and three on “Mayberry R.F.D.,” Lindsey played the small town’s gas station attendant. After his time on the shows, he reprised his role as Goober Pyle in the country variety show, “Hee Haw.”
At the time of his death, Andy Griffith said he considered Lindsey a friend and a former colleague. Griffith also praised Lindsey’s spirit and talent and said they had often talked by phone when they were alive.
“I am happy to say that as we found ourselves in our eighties, we were not afraid to say, ‘I love you,’” Griffith said at the time.