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Remembering versatile Jim Nabors — opera singer, Gomer Pyle

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Jim Nabors, pictured performing during the pre-race ceremonies of the 1998 Indy 500 Mile Race, died after battling a long illness. (Rich Miller/Indianapolis Star Tribune/TNS)
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Carol Burnett called him her “good luck charm” and Roseanne Barr said, “Sgt. Gomer Pyle was the first ‘gay’ character on TV.”

Jim Nabors, the singer and actor best known for his role as Gomer Pyle (and his cheery “Gollll-ly!”) died in Honolulu on Thursday. He was 87.

Nabors, who had a liver transplant in 1994 after contracting hepatitis B, died peacefully at his home after his health declined for the past year, said his husband, Stan Cadwallader, who was by his side.

Nabors’ career started in the early 1960s on TV; his breakout role was on “The Andy Griffith Show” playing dim-witted mechanic Gomer Pyle for two seasons. The character was so popular, he got a spinoff series, “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.,” which ran for five seasons.

The actor, whose star was added to the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1991, also appeared in films such as “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” and “Stroker Ace.”

As a performer, he had another side, which he displayed on TV variety programs: his booming baritone. The contrast between his homespun humor (“The tornado was so bad a hen laid the same egg twice”) and his full-throated operatic arias amazed and stunned audiences.

For two seasons beginning in 1969, CBS aired “The Jim Nabors Hour” on which he joshed with guest stars, did sketches with fellow “Gomer Pyle” actors Frank Sutton and Ronnie Schell, and sang country and opera.

MATT LAUER UPDATE

Matt Lauer has dissolved his social media accounts, but news hasn’t stopped coming about the fallen “Today” show host, who was fired after sexual harassment allegations came to light.

After NBC quickly deleted his image from its “Today” website next to fixtures Al Roker, Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, Kathy Lee Gifford, Carson Daly and Megyn Kelly, Lauer did issue a public statement in which he apologized to people he hurt.

By early evening Thursday, his Facebook and Twitter pages were gone.

Meanwhile, Stephanie Gosk of NBC News, who appeared with Kelly on “Today,” says there may be as many as eight victims in the investigation of his improprieties.

There’s been no announcement of who might permanently replace Lauer, but Kelly, Kotb, Craig Melvin, Willie Geist, Brian Williams and Ann Curry are among the names that have surfaced.

In another annoying report, sources close to Lauer indicated that his attorneys were working on a plan to get him paid through the remainder of his $20 million contract.


HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Singer Tyler Joseph of Twenty One Pilots is 29. … Actress Zoe Kravitz is 29. … Singer Janelle Monae is 32. … Actress Emily Mortimer is 46. … Comedian Sarah Silverman is 47 … Actor Jeremy Northam is 56. … Actor Treat Wiliams is 67. … Singer Gilbert O’Sullivan is 72. … Actress-singer Bette Midler is 72. .. Director Woody Allen is 82.

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