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Frank Sutton: Gomer Pyle Nemesis – – Roadside America

Frank Sutton: Gomer Pyle Nemesis

Field review by the editors.

Clarksville, Tennessee

Frank Sutton statue.

Gomer Pyle: USMC was a hit TV series in the 1960s. Its best character was not Gomer, but the eternally-exasperated Sergeant Carter, played by Frank Sutton (1923-1974). Sutton was born in Clarksville, moved away when he was a kid, and was long-dead and seemingly forgotten by the city until May 3, 2017, when it unveiled a life-size bronze statue of the actor next to its downtown theater. “He was always fond of Clarksville,” said the mayor at the statue’s dedication, “and remained true to his relatives and roots here.”

Frank Sutton statue.

Sutton had a long career in radio, TV, film, and the theater, but his statue depicts him as Sergeant Carter, in his starched and pressed Marine Corps uniform, hands on hips, yelling at Gomer, which is something he did in almost every episode. The statue was sculpted by local artist and firefighter Scott Wise.

Despite many subsequent roles, Sutton was never able to recapture Sergeant Carter’s slow-burning, nostril-flaring magic. Sutton died of a heart attack in Shreveport, Louisiana, while in rehearsals at a dinner theater. His last performance was in the TV disaster movie Hurricane (1974), playing a character who unwisely decided to host a hurricane party.

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