George Lindsey Dies: 'Andy Griffith Show's' Goober Gone

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George Lindsey, best known for playing the lovable, beanie-wearing gas station mechanic Goober on "The Andy Griffith Show" died early today following a brief illness.

He was 83 years old.

"George Lindsey was my friend. I had great respect for his talent and his human spirit. In recent years, we spoke often by telephone. Our last conversation was a few days ago. We would talk about our health, how much we missed our friends who passed before us and usually about something funny," Andy Griffith said in a statement posted on Lindsey's online obituary on the Marshall Donnelly Combs Funeral Home website.

"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,'" Griffith wrote.

Lindsey was born on Dec. 17, 1928 in Fairfield, Ala., and raised in Jasper, Ala.  He entered the Hollywood scene after a stint on Broadway.

Lindsey starred on "The Andy Griffith Show" from 1964 to 1968 and its spinoff series "Mayberry RFD," from 1968 to 1971. He also played the same character on "Hee Haw."

"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."

Before playing Goober, Lindsey also starred in several series, including the "The Real McCoys," "The Twilight Zone," and "Alfred Hitchcock Hour."

In later years, he also hosted the George Lindsey UNA Film Festival and participated in several Mayberry reunions show and retrospectives, according to his obituary.