George Lindsey, who brought beanie-wearing Goober Pyle to life on The Andy Griffith Show, died Sunday in Nashville, CNN reports. He was 83.
Best known for his role as the country bumpkin mechanic, Lindsey first appeared on The Andy Griffith Show in 1964 as the cousin of Jim Nabors' Gomer Pyle. His role as Goober continued for four seasons until The Andy Griffith Show was canceled, at which time Lindsey reprised his role on the sequel series Mayberry R.F.D.
Lindsey's third and final turn as Goober was on Hee Haw, which ran from 1972-1992.
"America has grown up with me," Lindsey told The Associated Press in 1985. "Goober is every man; everyone finds something to like about ol' Goober."
Lindsey's costar Andy Griffith spoke fondly of his friend in a statement released by the Nashville funeral home handling his arrangements.
"George Lindsey was my friend. I had great respect for his talent and his human spirit," Griffith recalled. "In recent years, we spoke often by telephone. Our last conversation was a few days ago...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.'"
Passing away after a brief undisclosed illness, Lindsey is said to have often joked about what he'd like written on his tombstone.
"One choice goes for the joke: 'I told you I was sick.' The other goes for the heart: 'I hope I made you laugh.' "
The actor is survived by a son, daughter and two grandsons.