How Goober Pyle saved a life
George Lindsey saved the life of an Oscar winner, and didn't know until years later.
When you think of Goober Pyle, the happy-go-lucky mechanic is not usually one you think of when it comes to saving lives. While he served as emergency deputy a few times when Mayberry needed him, he was usually just happy working at Wally's Filling Station.
However, behind-the-scenes, the actor who played Goober, George Lindsey, would be credited for saving the life of an Oscar-winning actor.
Ernest Borgnine, best known for his work on McHale's Navy and Airwolf, won an Oscar for his role in the 1955 film Marty which also went on to take the Best Picture Oscar. Younger generations may know him as the voice of Mermaid Man on SpongeBob SquarePants. What you may not know is that he was a close friend of George Lindsey.
Lindsey and Borgnine met by chance, when a mutual friend invited Lindsey to join them for lunch. Lindsey was a big fan of Borgnine, and jumped at the opportunity to meet the talented actor.
The trio met for lunch and got to talking. Eventually, the mutual friend had to leave for work, leaving Lindsey and Borgnine behind. Lindsey asked what Borgnine was doing after this, and Borgnine said he had to see a mechanic. Lindsey managed to convince him to play a round of golf with him instead, which turned into dinner, which turned into hours of talking.
The two parted as good friends and stayed in contact for years afterward.
It wasn't until years later, in 1992, when Borgnine did an interview with A Current Affair that George Lindsey learned he had saved his friend's life that day at lunch. Borgnine had been considering suicide that morning, but Lindsey talking him into a game of golf had changed his plans.
"He had been thinking about killing himself, but instead he went and played golf with me," Lindsey wrote in his memoir. "He said that I was responsible for saving his life. I never knew until he revealed it on A Current Affair."
Borgnine went on to live to the age of 95.