George Lindsey

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George Lindsey

George Smith Lindsey (born December 17, 1928 in Fairfield; died May 6, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee) was a character actor, best known for his role as "Goober" on The Andy Griffith Show.

Born in Fairfield, Lindsey was raised in the Walker County town of Jasper. He played quarterback at Walker County High School, graduating in 1946. He went on to play at Walker Junior College and Kemper Military School in Boonville, Missouri before earning his bachelor's degree in biological science at Florence State Teachers College (now the University of North Alabama) in 1952. After serving in the Air Force, Lindsey began coaching at Hazel Green High School in Madison County. After a year he left for New York to pursue a career in acting. He signed on with Helen Hayes' American Theater Wing and studied voice and ballet, earning the lead role in his graduation play. He took bit parts in off-Broadway theater and worked as a stand-up comic before landing larger roles in "All American" and "Wonderful Town". After that play ended its run in San Francisco, Lindsey headed for Los Angeles and signed with the WIlliam Morris Agency.

Lindsey landed guest roles on "The Rifleman", "Twilight Zone" and "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" on television and in the feature Ensign Pulver. In 1964, Lindsey got his big break as the slow-witted but kindly hick "Goober Beasley" on the now legendary The Andy Griffith Show. His character was eventually renamed "Goober Pyle" to share the name of his cousin Gomer (played by Jim Nabers). Goober's antics frequently included his exaggerated "Goober Dance" and his comically bad Cary Grant impression ("Judy, Judy, Judy").

After Griffith left his television show, CBS retooled it as Mayberry R.F.D. and Lindsey played the same character, until CBS cancelled R.F.D. 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.

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).

Lindsey recorded a Country/Comedy album, "Goober Sings", in Nashville. While there he put on his "Goober" act for the third and last time on the long running syndicated country music variety show Hee Haw. 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 civil case and asked only one question: "Mr. Lindsey, is this your skull?" He examined the skull and said, "no." At that point he was dismissed.

Lindsey has raised over $1,000,000 for Alabama Special Olympics through 17 years of the George Lindsey Celebrity Weekend and Golf Tournament in Montgomery. Lindsey has also raised over fifty thousand dollars for the Alabama Association of Retarded Citizens.

Amongst his other accomplishments, Lindsey has coached Special Olympics teams, and established academic scholarships and an annual film festival at his alma mater. His autobiography, "Goober in a Nutshell", was published in 1995. For his efforts with athletics, Lindsey was inducted into the 1983 class of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.

Lindsey was also awarded a star on the "Alabama Walk of Fame" in downtown Birmingham in 1989 and an honorary doctorate from UNA in 1992. He was presented with a "Governor's Achievement Award" by the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 1995 and a Minnie Pearl Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997. In 2007 Lindsay was honored with the first ICON Award presented by the Nashville Associations of Talent Directors. The State of Alabama named the "George Lindsey Highway" in Birmingham after the actor.

Lindsey suffered a stroke in Spring 2012 and died on May 6 of that year. He is buried in Jasper.

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