George Lindsey, the character actor who died Sunday at age 83, got a warm tribute from his pal and former costar, Andy Griffith.
Lindsey found stardom in the 1960s as the beanie-wearing gas-station attendant Goober Pyle on "The Andy Griffith Show," then later worked on the country variety series "Hee Haw." Goober was a good-natured hayseed with a fondness for bad jokes and even worse Cary Grant imitations.
Griffith, who played the sheriff of the fictional North Carolina town of Mayberry on his hit comedy show, said in a statement issued by Lindsey's funeral home that he had last spoken to his friend a few days ago.
"We would talk about our health, how much we missed our friends who passed before us and usually about something funny," Griffith wrote.
"I am happy to say that as we found ourselves in our eighties, we were not afraid to say, 'I love you.' That was the last thing George and I had to say to each other. 'I love you.'"
An Alabama native, Lindsey auditioned for the role of Gomer Pyle in 1962, but the producers hired Jim Nabors instead. Nabors later left to star in a spin-off, "Gomer Pyle USMC," and Lindsey played his cousin on "Andy Griffith" and the sequel series, "Mayberry R.F.D." "Griffith" in particular has remained popular in syndication.
Lindsey also used his celebrity to branch out into charity work and other businesses, including a chain of steakhouses.
Do you remember Lindsey? Have a favorite Goober moment? Sound off in the comments.
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-Scott Collins (twitter.com/scottcollinsLAT)
Photo: George Lindsey (in 1984) played Goober Pyle on "The Andy Griffith Show." Credit: Reed Saxon/Associated Press.