Sunday, May 06, 2012

George Lindsey aka Goober

Once again we children of television lost a beloved figure from our childhood. This morning we lost George Lindsey an actor best known for his role as "Goober Pyle" on The Andy Griffith Show.
George Lindsey was born Jefferson County, Alabama, and reared in the small town of Jasper, Alabama. Lindsey graduated from Walker High School in 1946 and then attended Kemper Military School in Boonville, Missouri, and Florence State College in Florence (now the University of North Alabama), from which he received a Bachelor of Bioscience in 1952. Upon graduation from college he joined the US Air Force stationed at Ramey Air Force Base in Puerto Rico. After discharge from the Air Force, he taught public school for one year at Hazel Green High School in Hazel Green, Alabama , near Huntsville, Alabama, while awaiting acceptance to the American Theater Wing in New York City. Upon graduation from American Theater Wing and two Broadway plays he moved to Los Angeles.

In 1964, he got his big break as the slow-witted but kindly "Goober Beasley" on the now legendary The Andy Griffith Show. His character was eventually renamed "Goober Pyle" to retain the same name as his cousin Gomer Pyle, another slow-witted yokel played by Jim Nabors, another Alabamian. Goober's antics frequently included his exaggerated "Goober Dance" and his comically bad Cary Grant impression.

As Lindsey started his portrayal as Goober, he also had a minor role in the Walter Brennan series The Tycoon on ABC. Lindsey also had a role in Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea entitled Submarine Sunk Here. He played a blackmailing taxicab driver in the "Bed of Roses" episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.

After Griffith left his television show, CBS retooled it as Mayberry R.F.D. and Lindsey played the same character, until CBS cancelled the program in 1971. Later in the 1970s, Lindsey guest starred on"M*A*S*H as Roy Dupree, a Southern surgeon working at the 8063rd Unit who switched places at the 4077th with Hawkeye Pierce.

In 1972, Lindsey portrayed Charlie, one of a pair of highwaymen in the Gunsmoke episode "Blind Man's Buff," and an escaped convict, "The Dove," in an episode of The Rifleman. Disney used his talents in a few projects, both as comedy support in features and voiceovers for a few of their animated characters. Three Disney animated features that presented the voice of Lindsey were The Aristocats (1970), Robin Hood (1973) and The Rescuers (1977). He also appeared in the 1967 Gunsmoke episode "Mad Dog" as one of the Watson Brothers.

Lindsey played "Goober" for the third and last time on the syndicated country music variety show Hee Haw, playing a more rustic version of the character. He appeared on that show from 1972 to 1992.

Following Hee Haw, George "Goober" Lindsey had a short cameo in the Rose Bowl episode of NewsRadio, he was called as a witness in a consumer fraud civil case (where Mr. James bought what he thought was actual movie memorabilia from a teenage kid, but was actually fake) and was asked to identify and authenticate one of the items. Lindsey was asked only one question: "Mr. Lindsey, is this your skull?" He then took the skull in hand, examining it carefully, and said, "no." At that point he was dismissed. He is also seen at the end of the episode buying those same fake artifacts from Mr. James, who was trying to pawn them off as actual set pieces and movie memorabilia from popular films, including, once again, Lindsey's own supposed skull.
Lindsey has raised over $1,000,000 (USD) for Alabama Special Olympics through 17 years of the George Lindsey Celebrity Weekend and Golf Tournament in Montgomery, Alabama and another $50,000 for the Alabama Association of Retarded Citizens. and participated as Head Coach-Winter Games in Minneapolis, MN Special Olympics National Competition.
He established and perpetuated the George Lindsey Academic Scholarships at University of North Alabama.
Lindsey was the 1995 recipient of the Governor's Achievement Award - Alabama Music Hall of Fame. The State of Alabama named the "George Lindsey Highway" in Birmingham after the actor. In 1998, he established the George Lindsey/UNA Film Festival that takes place at the University of North Alabama annually in the spring.
He was the 1997 recipient of the Minnie Pearl Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2007 recipient of the first ICON Award presented by the Nashville Associations of Talent Directors.
His last guest appearance was on Larry the Cable Guy's Hula Palooza Christmas Luau in 2009.

This George Lindsey quote is from a poem he wrote titled What Mayberry Means to Me (It was his signature finale for his stand-up act for 30 years), “The thing I like about Mayberry, most of all, it’s made ol’ Goober rich!”
Good Night Goober
Stay Tuned
Tony Figueroa
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