George Lindsey spent nearly 30 years make the world laugh as Goober Pyle on The Andy Griffith Show, Mayberry R.F.D., and Hee Haw.
Unfortunately, Lindsey passed away almost a decade ago, on May 6, 2012. He was 83 years old when he died after a fight with a brief illness.
George Lindsey starred as the grinning Goober on The Andy Griffith Show from 1964 until 1968. He also played the role on the show’s successor, Mayberry R.F.D from 1968 to 1971. He played the same hilarious, lovable character in both shows and on Hee Haw as well. That show aired from 1971 until it went out of production in 1993.
“America has grown up with me,” Lindsey told the Associated Press back in 1985. “Goober is every man; everyone finds something to like about ol’ Goober.”
After passing away in 2012, Andy Griffith himself released a statement to the funeral home.
“George Lindsey was my friend. I had great respect for his talent and his human spirit. In recent years, we spoke often by telephone. Our last conversation was a few days ago… I am happy to say that as we found ourselves in our eighties, we were not afraid to say, ‘I love you.’ That was the last thing George and I had to say to each other. ‘I love you.’”
Andy Griffith passed away on July 3, 2012 — not even two months later.
Background of ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Actor George Lindsey
George Lindsey was born in Fairfield, Alabama to his father George Ross Lindsey (a butcher) and his mother, Alice Smith. But he was actually raised by his grandparents in the little town of Jasper. That’s where he graduated from Walker County High School in 1946.
After high school, The Andy Griffith Show star went on to junior college and military school. But eventually, he found himself at Florence State Teacher’s College — now known as the University of North Alabama. While there, Lindsey majored in physical education and biology. And, of course, he acted in several college plays. Oh, and he was also a quarterback on the football team.
Lindsey’s favorite target to throw to was a tight end named Harlon Hill. Hill went on to be a star player in the National Football League. In remembering his late friend, Hill admitted that George Lindsey was a pretty talented player himself.
“We played together two years,” Hill recalled. “He was a pretty darned good football player.”
Hill also added that George Lindsey used to joke around that he had one favorite play. And it involved him: “Harlon, go long.”
It definitely sounds like George Lindsey could have made an impact at the next level of football. But instead, he chose to take his talents to the stage, and eventually became the hilarious Goober that we all know and love today.