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Marines loved Frank Sutton and he loved the Marines

Frank Sutton had many similarities to his character, Sgt. Vince Carter, from Gomer Pyle: U.S.M.C. The two had an equal love for the United States military and had every Marine wanting to meet them.

Sutton's role in Gomer Pyle: U.S.M.C. not only helped the series succeed, but it also inspired new potential Marines to sign up and stay in.

He worked alongside Jim Nabors, who played Pvt. Gomer Pyle, for a total of five seasons. In that time, the two made a series that many Marines were proud of, including Sutton himself.

According to a 1964 interview with The Wichita Eagle, Sutton said he would constantly receive new fan mail from Marines all across the country. Many of them claimed they've even met their fair share of Sgt. Carter-types in the real world.

"Marines always have a big hello for me," Sutton said. "The show is one of the best things Marine recruiting has going for it. Perhaps it's because Gomer and Carter humanize the Corps in the eyes of the youngsters."

Where Sgt. Carter was in the Marine Corps., Sutton was a Sergeant in the Army during WWII. Sutton served from 1943-1946 in the 293rd Joint Assault Signal Company. His work and real-life experience in the military helped him find his voice for the role long before his audition. 

According to a 1968 interview with The Richmond Times-Dispatch, Sutton said because he was so convincing in the role of Sgt. Carter, he would often do his best to convince people that his character wasn't a real person and that it was all an act. 

This led to typecasting. His typecasting troubles started after he became a fan-favorite character on the series. For many, Sutton represented what it meant to be a true Marine, American and man. 

The only time he was able to trade in his Sgt. Carter character was with a 25 minute routine he worked up for visiting hospitals in Vietnam. Even then, still very Sgt. Carter-y of him. 

"I know if it wasn't for the success I've had with Sgt. Carter, I wouldn't be getting offers of any kind, and I'm grateful," Sutton said. "But as a character actor I've got to show that I have range. Lots of actors can't turn anything down because they've starved too many times. Well, I'm not starving, so I'm going to sweat it out for another season on Gomer Pyle."

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