Following the passing of “Andy Griffith Show” star Jim Nabors, who famously played the beloved character, Gomer Pyle, his former co-star Ron Howard publicly mourned the loss of his friend in a statement.
#JimNabors. Talented, intelligent and so fun-loving & gracious,” he tweeted. “I loved acting with him on the #TheAndyGriffithShow His public persona belied his worldliness gained through travel & curiosity. A fascinating good-hearted guy. This is a rough week.”
The pair starred alongside each other during the iconic show, with Howard portraying Opie Taylor, until Nabors’s exit after the end of the fourth season when Pyle joins the Marine Corps. During Nabors’s last Indy 500 appearance in 2014, he revealed that he and Howard had continued to keep in touch over the years after the “Andy Griffith Show” went off the air in 1968.
“I got a letter from him the other day, and it was the sweetest note,” he said at the time. “A very personal thing and I was dumbfounded to get it. He was talking about how he just turned 60. See, I’ve known Ron since he was 6 years old. He wrote this letter, and he said that he was going to have a party for his 60th birthday. But it coincided with the Academy Awards, and too many of his friends wouldn’t be able to come. He said if he ever did decide to have the party, I would certainly be on the top of the list.”
Nabors’s longtime partner confirmed the news of his death on Thursday, indicating that the actor had passed away on Wednesday night at his home in Hawaii at the age of 87. His death is the second heartbreaking loss Howard has suffered recently, having just lost his father, Rance Howard, who also made appearances on the “Andy Griffith Show,” on Saturday.