Whether you remember him as the guffawing beanie-donned simpleton Goober on The Andy Griffith Show, Mayberry R.F.D or Hee Haw, George Lindsay will be forever in our hearts as a purveyor of down-home goofy humor. The versatile actor, whose credits also included several Disney animated characters (The Aristocats, Robin Hood and The Rescuers) died Sunday morning after an extended illness. He was 83.

Lindsey grew up in Jasper, Alabama and received a B.S. in BioScience from the University of North Alabama. After three years in the Air Force and a short stint as a high school history teacher, Lindsay set out for New York and secured roles in several Broadway musical productions.

He landed the part of mechanic Goober Pyle in The Andy Griffith Show after the Marines called up his cousin Gomer Pyle (played by Jim Nabors). Ironically years earlier, Lindsay had auditioned for the part of Gomer.

His other TV credits included roles on M*A*S*H*, CHIPs, The Rifleman, and he has the dubious distinction of playing one of the only characters to actually shoot Matt Dillon in Gunsmoke.

Lindsay was also heavily involved with The Special Olympics. His George Lindsey Celebrity Weekend and Golf Tournament in Montgomery, Alabama  raised over a million dollars for the Alabama chapter during his lifetime. He also participated as Head Coach-Winter Games at the Minneapolis Special Olympics National Competition.

A press release from Marshall-Donnelly-Combs Funeral Home in Nashville said funeral arrangements were still being made, but that he will be buried in his hometown of Jasper. The release also included a statement from co-star Andy Griffith;

“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 … 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.’ “