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Jim Nabors (left) with spouse Stan Cadwallader.
Actor Jim Nabors, whose homosexuality has been an open secret for decades, has finally come out publicly by marrying his long-time partner. On January 29, 2013, Hawaii News Now reported that Nabors and his partner of 38 years, former fire fighter Stan Cadwallader, wed in Seattle at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel on January 15. Nabors told a reporter that while he had not previously discussed his sexuality publicly, he was always open about it to friends and colleagues in the entertainment industry.
The Alabama native first came to prominence in 1962 when he appeared as a big-hearted but dim-witted gas station attendant on the Andy Griffith Show. The character was so popular that what was intended as a one-time appearance was expanded into a regular role on the Griffith show and then spun off into Gomer Pyle, USMC, which ran from 1964 to 1969.
In the 1970s, Nabors became known as a singer, particularly of gospel and country songs, and a comedy star, appearing on his own variety show but also on The Carol Burnett Show and The Muppet Show.
In the 1980s, Nabors appeared in three feature movies--The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982), Stroker Ace (1983), and Cannonball Run II (1984)--and the television reunion movie, Return to Mayberry (1986).
Nabors's career was adversely affected in the 1970s when a rumor circulated that Nabors had married his friend Rock Hudson. Perhaps because his fan base was heavily rural and Southern, the rumor, apparently without any basis in fact, affected Nabors more than it did Hudson.
That experience may have prompted Nabors to refuse to discuss his private life even as his homosexuality became increasingly well-known in glbtq and entertainment circles.
According to Keoki Kerr of Honolulu's Hawaii News Now, Nabors, 82, and Cadwallader, 64, were married in a private ceremony performed by a judge. Close friends of theirs from Hawaii, where Nabors and Cadwallader reside, travelled with them to Seattle and served as their witnesses.
In a telephone interview, Nabors said that before they married he and Cadwallader "had no rights as a couple." He added, "when you've been together 38 years, I think something's got to happen there, you've got to solidify something. And at my age, it's probably the best thing to do."
Nabors said that when he worked full-time in Hollywood in the 1960s and 1970s, he was open about his homosexuality to co-workers and friends but never acknowledged it to the media until now.
He said that he had never "made a public spectacle of it," that he has known that he was gay since he was a child. "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 said."
He added that he and Cadwallader had made their vows 38 years ago. "It was to each other, but nevertheless, we were a couple."
He disavowed any plans of becoming an activist and said he was not qualified to offer advice to young people.
Below is the report from Hawaii News Now.