Jim Nabors, star of 1960s sitcoms "The Andy Griffith Show" and spin-off "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.," married his long-time partner Stan Cadwallader on Jan. 15, publicly announcing his sexual preference for the first time.
The 82-year-old Hawaii resident and Cadwallader, 64, flew to Washington, just a month after gay marriage was legalized, and a judge performed the ceremony in the privacy of a hotel room.
The intimate ceremony involved a small group of friends and family members.
Nabors' confirmation of the marriage to a local Hawaii news station is the first time Nabors acknowledged publicly that he was gay, a fact that he says kept his life with Cadwallader of more than 30 years from total fulfillment.
"It's pretty obvious you have no rights as a couple," Nabors told WSFA, a Hawaii NBC affiliate. "Yet when you've been together 38 years I think something's got to happen there. You've got to solidify something. At my age it's probably the best thing to do."
Nabors lived in Hawaii for decades and met Cadwallader there in 1975.
Nabors was the lead for the syndicated hit "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C." after its '64 to '69 run. The show was a spin-off of "The Andy Griffith Show" about a naive gas-station attendant named Gomer Pyle, who Nabors played, from North Carolina who enlists in the United States Marine Corps. The show aired during the Vietnam War but avoided political commentary and instead focused on the comical situations Pyle got himself into.
Nabors has done little campaigning for gay rights and has no plans to start.
"I'm not a debater," he said. "Everybody has their own opinion about this. Actually, I'm not an activist. I've never gotten involved in any of this."
Though Nabors says that he has been open about his sexuality to friends and colleagues through the years, he also never saw the need to make it public. However, as he got older, he says it seemed like marrying Cadwallader was the right thing to do.
"I'm 82 and he's in his 60s. We've been together for 38 years. I'm not ashamed of people knowing, it's just that it's such a personal thing I didn't tell anybody," Nabors said. "I haven't ever made a public spectacle of it. I've known since I was a child, so come on. It's not that kind of thing. I've never made a huge secret of it at all."
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