Seriously. I was under the impression that he had died four years ago. About the same time Abe Vigoda passed on. And now it appears Vigoda is still alive too.
But you know the really remarkable thing about this? It’s that a Z-list celebrity like Nabors, who was in a crappy sitcom more than 40 years ago, nevertheless commands notice from all the major media when he does something as banal as getting hitched in Seattle.
They talk about 15 minutes of fame, but that’s not really true is it? Warhol was dead wrong, just as F. Scott was wrong with that howler about “no second acts in American lives.” He didn’t really think it through.
But then that was before “Dancing with the Stars” and the proliferation of gossip sites explicitly devoted to tracking the twitches of the once-famous. Now there are nothing but second acts. Remember Joey Buttafuoco? Of course you do. And you’ll be happy to get reacquainted when he inevitably lands a spot on “Celebrity Apprentice.”
Back to Gomer Pyle. Decades ago, when I was a reporter and still a resident of Montana, he made news when he bought land and built a big luxury home up by Whitefish Lake. We were all yokels too and kind of impressed at the time: a TV star settling down in a quiet little railroad town. It turned out he was just the first of maybe 17,000 celebrities, big and small, who also built homes in Montana over the next 20 years and ruined the state for all time.
Not that I blame him for that. He made a lot of money playing a dumbass, he can spend it however he wants. And of course the notice of his nuptials has a lot to do with the new legality of gay marriage in Washington state. I’m just struck at the way American celebrity, once said to be so fleeting, now seems to have the same half-life as plutonium.