Factbox: Six facts about 'Gomer Pyle' actor Jim Nabors

(Reuters) - As Gomer Pyle, the earnest, simple-minded gas station attendant who became a U.S. Marine, Jim Nabors, who died at 87 on Thursday in Hawaii, played one of the most popular characters on U.S. television in the 1960s. Here are six facts about Nabors.

* Nabors’ first television jobs were behind the scenes. He worked as a film editor for a Chattanooga, Tennessee, station and took a similar job in Los Angeles. Before that, he was a typist at the United Nations.

* Nabors made headlines in January 2013 when he married Stan Cadwallader, a former Honolulu firefighter and his partner of 38 years at that time, in Seattle shortly after the state of Washington made same-sex marriage legal. Nabors was 82 years old and Cadwallader 64 at the time.

* Nabors told Hawaii News Now that he knew he was gay as a child. His homosexuality was not a secret among co-workers but he said he preferred not to discuss it for the sake of his privacy and that he had no desire to be an activist.

* Nabors said he fell in love with Hawaii when he first visited in the 1960s. He moved there in the 1980s and bought a macadamia farm.

* He underwent a transplant in 1994 to replace a liver ravaged by hepatitis. Nabors said he contacted the disease on a trip to India when he cut himself while shaving with a straight razor.

* Nabors would eventually outrank Gomer Pyle. While the television character never rose above the rank of private on “Gomer Pyle, USMC,” Nabors was made an honorary corporal in the Marine Corps in 2001 and promoted to lance corporal in 2007.

Compiled by Bill Trott in Washington; Editing by Diane Craft