BRADFORD, PA – December 27, 2017 – The Marilyn Horne Museum and Exhibit Center recently received a significant monetary donation from late Hollywood actor and comedian, Jim Nabors. Nabors, a life-long friend of Marilyn Horne, was best known for his iconic role as Gomer Pyle, the goofy and beloved resident of the fictional town of Mayberry, North Carolina.
Nabors, who died on November 30 at his home in Honolulu, Hawaii, met Marilyn Horne in the 1960s. The pair were attending the same vocal studio in Los Angeles where, Horne would see “a tall, shy Alabama boy” who she thought was studying to be an opera singer. It wasn’t until she turned on the television one evening that she discovered that Nabors had his own series. Horne said that Nabors was “a far cry from the doltish Gomer Pyle he portrayed on the screen”. As his stardom began to rise the public was surprised to learn that the actor possessed a rich baritone voice. Nabors was a frequent guest and sang on popular variety shows such as “The Carol Burnett Show”, “The Julie Andrews Hour”, “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson, “The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour”, “Sesame Street” and “The Muppet Show”.
“Gifts to the museum from Hollywood legends shine a spotlight on our community and bring international attention to the museum and its mission.” Said museum manager, Matthew Hileman. “We were so sorry to hear that Jim Nabors had passed away. We are truly grateful that he gave us his support during his lifetime.”
Marilyn Horne appeared twice with Nabors on The Jim Nabors Hour in 1970. It was through Nabors that she was introduced to Carol Burnett and appeared twice on “The Carol Burnett Show” in 1968 and 1971. Horne and Nabors sang together on a recording of “Man of La Mancha” released in 1972, a copy of which is on display in the Marilyn Horne Museum. In 1981, while Nabors was filming an episode of “The Love Boat”, he loaned his Honolulu home to Horne where she began work on her first biography, “My Life”.
Nabors moved to Hawaii in 1976 where he owned a macadamia nut plantation for 25 years. In 2013, he married his partner of 38 years, Stan Cadwallader. Following his death last month, the United States Marine Corps issued an official statement: “Semper Fi, Gomer Pyle. Rest in peace Jim Nabors, one of the few to ever be named an Honorary Marine.”
About the Marilyn Horne Museum and Exhibit Center
The Marilyn Horne Museum and Exhibit Center is a division of the University of Pittsburgh. The museum’s mission is to further interest in the art of opera and to inspire and educate new generations on the importance of art, culture and philanthropy through the life, achievements, and personal archives of renowned mezzo-soprano, Marilyn Horne. The 3,400 square-foot exhibition space features 19 interactive exhibits, a documentary film, costumes, and artifacts from the personal archives of Marilyn Horne. Open daily. Admission is free.