What fun is it in downtown Clarksville, Tennessee to pose with the Frank Sutton statue? This actor portrayed the in-your-face, finger pointing Sergeant Vince Carter in the series Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C. Part of the fun was watching him week after week, try unsuccessfully to have Gomer transferred out of his unit.
The bronze statue created by sculptor Scott Wise is located on Franklin Street. While on a hosted visit I had to have my photo taken with this man who made history with Gomer Pyle. Golly!
Frank Sutton was born in Clarksville. His parents met while working at The Leaf Chronicle, which Michelle Dickerson of Visit Clarksville told me is the oldest newspaper in the state of Tennessee.
Knowing from a young age that he wanted to be an actor, the family moved around and while attending high school in Nashville, he was active in school plays. Serving in the Army during World War II, after he returned, he finished his college education at Columbia University and while going to school landed a role on daytime TV.
At Columbia, he met his wife and the two had two children. His career took off early and he was featured in many films, but his most famous role was alongside Jim Nabors. The Gomer Pyle sitcom ran from 1964 until 1969 and Sutton often appeared on The Jim Nabors Hour.
Known to be a kind man who performed for the troops in Vietnam, he passed away in 1974 at the young age of 50 from a heart attack. His memory lives on through the fun statue on Franklin Street. You too can take your picture with his statue and relive the moments of fun he brought into our living rooms over the years.