Even away from his home in Hawaii, Jim Nabors is recognized
nearly everywhere he goes. And on those rare occasions when people
aren’t quite sure who he is, his friendly smile makes them feel
they might know him anyway. Accustomed to the recognition, Nabors
laughs when kids tell him he looks like an “old Gomer Pyle.”
The popular star still remains one of television’s most beloved
personalities 37 years after his stint as the endearing private in
“Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.”
Having lived in Hawaii over 30 years, Nabors has found appeal in
the easy island lifestyle.
“As the years go by, Hawaii hooks you,” he said, “and you can’t
live anywhere else. I don’t know what it is about the place.”
He describes himself as more of a friend than a celebrity, which
makes Nabors very approachable.
“People aren’t pushy here,” he said. “They’re polite. So I’m
polite in return. I love people and usually talk to anyone who
wants to talk to me.”
Among his buddies are the rich and famous, as well as Hawaii
residents of all ages who know him from his annual “A Merry
Christmas With Friends and Nabors” show at the Hawaii Theatre.
Others frequently spot him shopping in the Kahala Mall.
“Knowing what someone likes to receive is the fun of gift
giving,” said Nabors.
He knows how to practice what he preaches too. Nabors lived next
door to Doris Duke, whose Shangri-La mansion is now an Islamic
museum open to the public.
“Know what broke the ice with her?” Nabors asked. “Remember, she
was one of the richest women in the world. I gave her an inlaid
ivory screen I thought would be nice in her home. That did it.”
Nabors owns a macadamia nut farm in Hana, Maui. So he frequently
shares mac nut candies as gifts.
“I have a friend who lives in Ohio,” Nabors said. “I send him my
macadamia nuts and he makes candies from my recipes. Then we send
them to other friends all over the world.”
When he shops locally, Nabors prefers Hilo Hattie for Hawaiian
goodies and muumuus. He also opts for Crazy Shirts. Nabors tries to
match up just the right gift.
“I like to give Hawaiian shirts, like the beautiful ones Anne
Namba makes,” he said. “I just bought several at Ballet Hawaii’s
Mistletoe Magic fundraiser.
“I also like to find unique Oriental items that folks on the
mainland can’t find,” he said. “I went to Meng Dynasty recently and
bought Anna Meng’s jewelry and art pieces. She has exquisite taste
and gets things from China.”
For edible offerings, Nabors literally stays in his
neighborhood. He heads up the hill from his Diamond Head home to
Kapiolani Community College.
“There’s a great farmers market in the parking lot on Saturday
mornings, and you can buy wonderful local products there,” said
“It doesn’t matter whether the gift is big or small,” he noted.
“It’s the memory that comes with it that makes it special.”
One large memory for Nabors is his grand piano, a gift from dear
friend Carol Burnett.
“She raised her children to play on this piano, so I know it
means a lot to her to have it here in my home,” Nabors said.
Nabors’ lifestyle is geared to generosity. And perhaps the
greatest gift is his annual holiday show, for which he has never
received a cent of compensation. Nabors shares his time and talents
with the local community as well, giving back to the Hawaii ohana
(family) that embraces him.
324 Kamani St.
2201 Kalakaua Ave.
700 N. Nimitz Hwy.
1130 Bethel St.
Kapiolani Community College
4303 Diamond Head Rd.
4211 Waialae Ave.
1188 Bishop St. #1704