Thursday, November 1, 2007

Frank Spencer Sutton (October 23, 1923 - June 28, 1974) was an American actor who is best remembered for his role as the loud, hard-nosed drill instructor Sergeant Vincent Carter on the CBS television series Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.
Sutton was born in Clarksville, Tennessee in 1923. When he was eight years old, his father took a position as a linotype operator at the Nashville Tennessean in Nashville. While growing up in Nashville, he developed an interest in acting, earning his first role in at the age of nine. He later commented, "The first time I walked out on a stage, I had a warm feeling. I knew then I wanted to be an actor." However, the joy of learning his new craft was diminished during this time by the death of his father.
After Sutton graduated from East Nashville High School, he returned to Clarksville to become a radio disc jockey, then enlisted in the United States Army during World War II, and after basic training, was sent to the South Pacific, taking part in 14 assault landings. He also appeared in Public Service Commercials in the role of Sergeant Carter.
His friendship with co-star Jim Nabors continued when Nabors hosted a variety of series beginning in 1969, and lasted into the 1970s.
After Gomer Pyle, Sutton went on to perform in dinner theater and made guest appearances on other television programs. While preparing for a performance of thecomedy "Luv" at the Beverly Barn Dinner Playhouse in Shreveport, Louisiana, he died of a heart attack at the age of 50. Sutton was buried in his hometown of Clarksville.

Frank Sutton Trivia

On "Gomer Pyle USMC" , Sergeant Carter's mortal enemy was Mess Staff Sergeant Hacker, played by Allan Melvin. In one episode Hacker and Carter are nearly driven crazy when they have to search 600 loaves of bread after Gomer purportedly drops a friend's wedding ring in the bread dough before mess call.
In the series Sergeant Carter was a Korean War Veteran; as noted above Frank Sutton served in World War II.

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