Comic/character actor George Lindsey best remembered by TV fans as "Goober Pyle" on "The Andy Griffith Show" and "Mayberry RFD" died Sunday May 6, 2012 at his home in Nashville, Tn. Mr. Lindsey was 83 years old and he had been suffering from a long but undisclosed illness. Born in Jasper, Al. on December 17, 1928, he originally been training for a teaching career. He attended The Florence State Teacher's College (now know as The University Of North Alabama) where Lindsey majored in Physical education and biology. He also played football with the college's team. He graduated with a Bachelor's of Science degree in 1952.
From there Mr. Lindsey served in the US Air Force for three years then got himself a teaching job at a high school in Huntsville, Al. where he taught history and he also served as the school's baseball and basketball coach. But he quit the teaching job and moved to NYC in 1956 where he joined up with The American Theater Wing.
After studying drama he made his professional acting debut in the Broadway musicals "The All American" (a stage show created and produced by Mel Brooks and starring Ray Bolger) and "Wonderful Town" (a stage musical version of "My Sister Eileen" starring Rosalind Russell and Edie Adams). Lindsey also worked as a stand up comedy performer at NYC nightclubs.
He continued to work in the theater until the early 1960s when Lindsey moved to Hollywood to begin a long and successful stint performing in films and TV shows.
He appeared in such movies as "Ensign Pulver" (a Sequel to "Mr. Roberts") as a member of Capt. Morton's (Burl Ives' crew) with Robert Walker Jr., Walter Matthau, Peter Marshall ,Larry Hagman, Jimmy Coco, Gerald O'Loughlin ,Millie Perkins, Al Freeman, Jr.and Kay Medford; "Snowball Express" with Dean Jones, Nancy Olsen, Johnny Whitaker, Harry Morgan and Keenan Wynn; and "Charley & The Angel" with Fred MacMurray, Cloris Leachman, Edward Andrews, Harry Morgan, George O'Hanlon and Kurt Russell.
Mr. Lindsey also made guest appearances on many TV shows: "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour", "The Real McCoys" (with my friend and fellow performer the late Soupy Sales), "The Twilight Zone" and "The Rifleman".
But he gained the most success by replacing Jim Nabors as Gomer Pyle's cousin "Goober" on "The Andy Griffith Show" in 1964.
Unlike Mr. Nabors naive character George Lindsey was not too bright but of times showed a wild side as he wanted to go to Mount Pilot ,N.C. to fool around with "The Fun Girls" (the tv series' reference for hookers).
He also showed a child-like persona that made him a popular character with viewers of all ages.
Lindsey remained a member of The Andy Griffith Show's cast until 1968 when Mr. Griffith left the series to return to performing in movies. That same year the producers of the program decided to revamp the show as a vehicle for comic actor and song and dance man Ken Berry (Mr. Berry had played Calvery Officer Capt. WIlton Parminter on "F Troop") who played Mayberry City Councilman and farmer Sam Jones.
"Mayberry RFD" debuted on CBS TV in 1968 but the series was not as successful as it's predecessor and viewers became more interested in the controversial satire of Norman Lear and Mary Tyler Moore.
"Mayberry RFD" went off the air in 1971.
Mr. Lindsey went on to perform in movies and he did voice overs for two Walt Disney animated feature films "The Aristocats" and "Robin Hood" with former Gene Autry's Melody Ranch and "Green Acres" regular Pat Buttram.
Lindsey would continue to do guest appearances on other tv shows including a memorable turn on "M*A*S*H" as obnoxious surgeon "Dr. Roger Duprey" until he moved from Hollywood to Nashville in the early 1990s.
His last TV appearances were on "Hee Haw"-he performed on the show from 1971 until the series finally went off the air in 1993. Lindsey found the time to cut a comedy record and write his memoirs. He also created and supervised a charity golf tournament for the benefit of mentally disabled kids and he was also involved with the Alabama "Special Olympics".
In 1992 his Alma Matter, the University Of North Alabama, bestowed upon him an honorary doctorate. Mr. Lindsey had been married to Joyanne Herbert from 1955 until they were divorced in 1991. He is survived by his daughter Camden Jo Lindsey Gardner, his son George Lindsey ,Jr., two grandsons and his companion Anne Wilson.