Saturday, May 15, 2021



George Smith Lindsey was born in Fairfield, Alabama on December 17, 1928.  He was raised by his grandparents in the town of Jasper, where he attended Walker County High School. 

After graduation in 1946, he attended what is now the University of North Alabama, where he double majored in biology and physical education.  Yeah, Goober.  He played quarterback on the football team, but he also got his start on the stage, appearing in several college productions.

He graduated in 1952 with a Bachelor of Science degree, which he immediately put to good use as a high school science teacher.  Yeah, Goober.  However, he longed to return to the stage. 

He moved to New York City in 1956 and immediately found work on Broadway, starring in productions of Wonderful Town and All American.  During this period, he made his first television appearance, posing as a spear fisherman on the game show To Tell the Truth.  

With one screen credit under his belt, Lindsey decided to make it his career.  He moved to Los Angeles in 1962, where he found work on such series as The Twilight Zone, The Rifleman, and as was required by law of all actors at the time, Gunsmoke.

His big break came in 1964, when he was cast in the role that would define his career, Goober Pyle on The Andy Griffith Show.  The character was introduced as a replacement for Gomer Pyle, played by Jim Nabors, who was at this point leaving the series for his spin-off, Gomer Pyle, USMC.  Unlike replacement characters that would occupy future sit-coms, the audience took to Goober and he quickly became a fan favorite.  His Goober dance and Cary Grant impressions are fondly remembered to this day.

In 1968, Andy Griffith decided to leave the series, but the supporting players weren't quite ready to say goodbye.  Lindsey and most of the other actors returned in the retooled series Mayberry RFD, which ran for three seasons.  Although this series gave Lindsey more to do, he often felt that the writing did not meet the standards of the original.

When the series concluded in 1972, Lindsey joined the cast of Hee Haw, often reprising his Goober character.  He continued playing the part for the next twenty years.  All in all, he played Goober on three different series, spanning from 1964 to 1992.  That has to be a record.

Lindsey also worked for Disney during the 1970s, doing voice-over work in a number of animated productions, including The Aristocats (1970), Robin Hood (1973) and The Rescuers (1977).  He also put in a memorable guest appearance on M*A*S*H, playing visiting surgeon Roy Dupree from the 8063 (left).  His episode is unique in that it's the only one of the entire series in which lead actor Alan Alda has less than one minute of screen time.  

When his time as Goober came to end, Lindsey went to work for the Alabama Special Olympics.  Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, he helped raise more than $1 million for that charity.  He also started a scholarship in his name at the University of North Alabama, which awarded him an honorary doctorate degree in 1992.  Yeah, Goober.

By 2012, Lindsey's health was in decline.  He ultimately died of heart failure on May 6, 2012.  He was 83 years old.

George Lindsey was entombed at Oak Hill Cemetery in his hometown of Jasper.

I'm Glad I Made You Laugh

Rest in peace, Goob.


  • Lindsey released his memoirs in 1995.  You can order a copy of Goober In a Nutshell from Amazon.

  • After graduating from college, Lindsey enlisted in the Air Force and was stationed at Ramey Air Force Base in Puerto Rico.

  • Live long and prosper?  According to Leonard Nimoy, Lindsey was Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry's first choice to play Mr. Spock.  And according to Jim Nabors, Lindsey was considered for but not offered the part of Gomer Pyle.

  • Goober Pyle was originally named Goober Beasley, but producers decided to change his name at the 11th hour and make him Gomer Pyle's cousin.

  • Lindsey's Goober costume and hat are on permanent display at the Andy Griffith Museum in Mount Airy, North Carolina.  The hat was bronzed.


  1. Great job, Brian! I thought I knew Goober pretty well, but I was wrong.

  2. Great job, Brian! I thought I knew Goober pretty well, but I was wrong.