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Jim Nabors Hid His Sexuality for Years & Married His Partner of 38 Years Shortly before He Passed

Oyin Balogun
Sep 08, 2021
07:00 A.M.
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Jim Nabors refrained from publicly revealing his sexuality for decades. However, shortly before he passed, Nabors consummated his 38-year relationship with his partner by marrying him.

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Hollywood is a world that relies on cameras, and those are everywhere these days, which makes it hard for famous faces to get around without being seen.

Some celebrities embrace the publicity while others find ways to get around it, especially when they have decided to keep something hidden from the public's prying eyes.

Jim Nabors was one of those people. He was a gay man who had his awakening as a child but avoided making a public spectacle out of it up until the moment he passed. Here are a few details about him.

HE ROSE TO FAME PLAYING A GOOFY ROLE

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Nabors was born in Sylacauga, Alabama, and attended the University of Alabama. His first TV jobs were behind the scenes. He once worked as a typist at the UN before becoming a film editor for a station in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

He took a similar job in Los Angeles but didn't find fame until he was cast as a goofy gas station attendant in "The Andy Griffith Show," which was aired between 1962 and 1964.

Jim Nabors smiles while filming "Gomer Pyle, USMC" on September 30, 1964 | Photo: Getty Images

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His great performance secured a spot for him on the spin-off sitcom "Gomer Pyle, USMC." It aired from 1964 to 1969, and he played the leading role in it.

Fans got more familiar with him in subsequent years thanks to frequent reruns of the program. He also remained relevant by appearing on talk shows while hosting his own.

Aside from his acting talent, he was also known for his rich baritone. He performed in musical theater productions in Florida, Nevada, and his beloved Hawaii as a singer.

Jim Nabors at The Hollywood Palladium, March 7, 2004 in Hollywood, California. | Photo: Getty Images

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HE KEPT NEWS OF HIS SEXUALITY

Nabors knew he was gay right from childhood but chose not to make a big deal out of it. When he grew older and secured fame, his ideology did not change.

His immune system had also been suppressed since he had surgery for a liver transplant in 1994.

He was active in Hollywood in the 60s and 70s, but somehow he made it so that only his coworkers and those closest to him knew he had a thing for men.

Jim Nabors at Indianapolis Motorspeedway on May 25, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. | Photo: Getty Images

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When he spoke about it in the past, Nabors said, "I haven't ever made a public spectacle of it. Well, I've known since I was a child, so, come on. It's not that kind of a thing. I've never made a huge secret of it at all."

Nabors was unapologetically gay, but despite being aware of that, he chose not to become an activist. Instead, he went with having a deeply intimate relationship with the man he fell in love with.

HIS HUSBAND WAS YOUNGER THAN HE WAS

Nabors was involved with Stan Cadwallader for a long time. The two first met in 1975 when Cadwallader was still a firefighter. After some time, he went to work for Nabors, and they started their relationship.

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Jim Nabors at the opening of the Indianapolis 500 on May 24, 2008. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons, BSquared AKA Family Paparazzi, CC BY 2.0

According to the actor, they got married after 38 years of companionship on January 15, 2013. When news of the wedding was revealed, Nabors remained unapologetic about it.

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According to the late actor, his sexuality had been such a personal issue; he didn't tell anyone. It had nothing to do with being ashamed.

He was, in fact, delighted with the way things turned out because he enjoyed decades of bliss with his partner. The pair journeyed to Washington state, where gay marriages are legal, to get married.

Jim Nabors and Andy Griffith at the Hammerstein Ballroom November 02, 2003 in New York City. | Photo: Getty Images

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They tied the knot at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in Seattle. The ceremony was a private one officiated by a judge in the presence of some of their friends who lived down the street from them. He was 82 at the time of the wedding. Here's what he said about it:

"I was just trying to solidify all of our years together. When you find a good friend in this life, you hang on to him."

Jim Nabors when he was promoted to the honorary rank of sergeant during the Marine Corps birthday ball in honor of the 238th birthday of the Marine Corps. | Source: Wikimedia Commons

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HE DIED A COUPLE OF YEARS AFTER THE WEDDING

Jim Nabors passed away at his Honolulu home in 2017. He was 87 at the time. Cadwallader confirmed his death and revealed the causes. Apparently, Nabors' health had been on a steady decline for a year before his demise.

His immune system had also been suppressed since he had surgery for a liver transplant in 1994. Back then, he announced that he had been diagnosed with Hepatitis B, a disease he contracted during his time in India.

Jim Nabors as Pvt. Gomer Pyle in the CBS television series "Gomer Pyle, USMC," on July 21, 1967. | Photo: Getty Images

It happened while he was shaving with a contaminated straight razor, which he procured there. He spent most of his later years in Hawaii: there; he had a home and a 500-acre macadamia nuts farm in Hana, the island of Maui.

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