Friday, February 1, 2013

Jim Nabors, newlywed

I don't know if Jim Nabors was openly gay or if it was an open secret or if it was a not-very-well kept secret. It was something I knew but I don't know how I knew.

Nabors has just married his longtime companion. They live in Hawaii but traveled to Washington state to get married.

When Rock Hudson was revealed to be gay, there were some anti-gay pundits who pointed out the reports in the '70s that Hudson had married Jim Nabors. I don't know what their point was, but they thought this was significant.

Back then, there was a middle aged gay couple that had a big party every year. They sent out invitations and as joke said that it was a wedding between Rock Hudson and Jim Nabors. Hudson, they said, would take Gomer Pyle's last name. His married name would be Rock Pyle.

I don't know if it was coincidence that they picked two secretly gay celebrities for this gag, or if they knew. And I don't know if the gossip columnists who didn't get the joke thought it was true because they knew they were gay or if they would have fallen for anything.

But, anyway, Jim Nabors and his spouse have been together for years so they decided to make it official. And good for them.

I only know a couple of Jim Nabors anecdotes. How he was attacked by a Marine Corps sergeant who mistook him for a new recruit when they were filming the episode of Gomer Pyle, USMC where Gomer goes to basic training. Nabors went to use the restroom when he wasn't supposed to so the sergeant grabbed him and dragged him out.

And one time he was on a boat sailing off the coast of France. They saw an island they wanted to go to, but it turned out to be a nudist colony. So they went. He was walking around naked and at least one naked Frenchman recognized him as Gomer Pyle.

He had worldwide fame. But too bad he was typecast.

Look at some other American actors. Fred Gwynne was cast in some high brow European movies.  Eli Wallach became an Italian action star, Henry Fonda became an Italian movie villain, and there was an actor who played sort of a bland college student on The Paper Chase who went on to become an action and science fiction star in Europe. 

That could have been Jim Nabors over there.

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