Most of the public new Jim Nabors as an actor with a high pitched twang and a singing voice that would make opera singers proud. His iconic character, Gomer Pyle, started on the Andy Griffith Show in 1962 and landed him his own TV series by the same name.
But Nabors was also known for his rendition of ‘Back Home Again in Indiana’ which he sang before the Indiana 500 for more than four decades.
Now. racing is in mourning following the news that Jim Nabors has passed away at the age of 87.
The owners of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway mourned his death in a statement on its website.
Jim Nabors was such a kind, caring man, and we will miss him greatly,” said the Hulman-George family, which owns the speedway. “Jim was born in Alabama, but he became a Hoosier to all of us almost immediately after he began his superb performances of ‘Back Home Again in Indiana’ starting in 1972. He loved coming back home to the Speedway almost every May for more than 40 years and seeing his friends and race fans, who loved him dearly. Jim was not only a treasured friend, but truly a cherished member of our family.
“We will never forget his genuine kindness, sincerity and loyalty. He was a wonderful man who inspired millions of people across the globe every May and throughout his entire life”
And, there was more. J. Douglas Boles, the president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, said he was “heartbroken.”
Here’s Nabors’ rendition.