The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #59719   Message #953466
Posted By: Joe Offer
15-May-03 - 08:44 PM
Thread Name: Obit: June Carter Cash (1929-2003)
I think it's worth posting the full text of the Associated Press obituary.
-Joe Offer-

June Carter Cash dies

Carter family helped start the country music industry

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP) --June Carter Cash, a scion of a pioneering family in country music and the wife and Grammy-winning duet partner of singer Johnny Cash, died Thursday of complications from heart surgery. She was 73.

Cash died at Baptist Hospital with her husband and family members at her bedside, manager Lou Robin said.

Cash had been critically ill. She had surgery May 7 to replace a heart valve.

A singer, songwriter, musician, actress and author, Cash and her husband performed on record and on stage, doing songs like "Jackson" and "If I Were a Carpenter," which both won Grammy awards in 1967 and 1970, respectively. They recorded duets including "It Ain't Me Babe" in 1964 and "If I Had a Hammer" in 1972.

In 1961, she turned down an offer to work on a variety show that had Woody Allen as one of the writers, agreeing instead to tour with Johnny Cash for $500 a week. They married in 1968 after he proposed to her on stage on London, Ontario.

In his 1997 autobiography, Johnny Cash described how his wife stuck with him through his years of amphetamine abuse.

"June said she knew me -- knew the kernel of me, deep inside, beneath the drugs and deceit and despair and anger and selfishness, and knew my loneliness," he wrote. "She said she could help me. ... If she found my pills, she flushed them down the toilet. And find them she did; she searched for them, relentlessly."

She was co-writer, with Merle Kilgore, of Cash's 1963 hit "Ring of Fire," which was about falling in love with Cash. She said the song symbolized her feeling of being engulfed by Cash. "John was notorious," she said in 1999. "He roared when he wanted to."

Played Robert Duvall's mother

In a 1987 Associated Press interview, she described her husband as "probably the most unusual, fine, unselfish person I've known. He's different. I think the word is 'power.' There's a lot of power to him. I've seen him on shows with people with a No. 1 record or a lot of No. 1 records, but when John walks on that stage, the rest of 'em might as well leave."

She did occasional acting roles, including the part of Robert Duvall's mother in the 1997 film "The Apostle." With her husband, she periodically performed at Billy Graham crusades.

Carter Family records helped start the country music industry in the 1920s.

Maybelle Carter, June's mother, was in the Carter Family with her cousin Sara Carter and Sara's husband, A.P. Carter. In 1927, they made what are among the first country music recordings. June was born two years later, on June 23, 1929, in Maces Spring, Virginia.

The Carter Family act broke up, but mother and daughters June, Helen and Anita continued as Mother Maybelle & the Carter Sisters. Little June played autoharp and clowned around. She created a character dubbed Aunt Polly, who told corny jokes.

Starting in 1939, the sisters starred in a radio show on XERA in Del Rio, Texas, that could be heard as far away as Saskatchewan, Canada. The Carters went on to become staples of the Grand Ole Opry country music show in Nashville.

The Carters' type of harmony singing still inspires today's singers. Maybelle's "Carter lick" on the guitar has become one of the most influential techniques in country music.

Toured with Elvis

In the late 1950s, after her marriage to country singer Carl Smith broke up, June Carter Cash moved to New York to study acting at the behest of director Elia Kazan ("On the Waterfront"), who had seen her perform while scouting Tennessee for movie locations.

Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters had worked with Elvis Presley on tour in the mid-1950s, and were booked by Col. Tom Parker, who was Presley's longtime manager. She once took Presley to see "A Streetcar Named Desire," where they sat with playwright Tennessee Williams and Kazan.

In 1999, she released an acoustic album, "Press On," that amounted to a musical autobiography and won her another Grammy.

The album, her first in a quarter-century, followed her career from its beginning through her then 31-year marriage and collaboration with Cash.

"There's a lot of people who I love -- fans that I've known through the years -- who will be glad I did it," she said about the album in an Associated Press interview at the time. "And maybe some other people ... wonder what Johnny Cash's wife is really like."

In 1979, she wrote her autobiography, "Among My Klediments," and released"From the Heart," a memoir, in 1987.

Johnny and June Cash had a son, John Carter Cash, in 1970. She was also the mother of country singer Carlene Carter, whose father was Smith, and singer Rosanne Cash is her stepdaughter.

Here's the story by Dean Goodman of Reuters:

LOS ANGELES, May 15 — Country music singer-songwriter June Carter Cash, the wife of Johnny Cash, died in Nashville Thursday after complications from heart surgery, a spokeswoman said. She was 73.

       ''She passed away this evening at 5.04 p.m. Central Time ,'' said Jennifer Jackson, director of public relations at Baptist Hospital, where Cash had undergone heart surgery May 7.
       Her family, including her husband, was at her side, Jackson told Reuters. Funeral arrangements will be announced on Friday, she added.
       Cash, the daughter of country music pioneer Maybelle Carter, mother of Carlene Carter and stepmother of Rosanne Cash, also country singers, co-wrote ''Ring of Fire,'' a No. 1 country hit for Johnny Cash in 1963. They were married five years later, and their union was one of the strongest in the entertainment business.
       ''She's a soft, fluffy Mama Bear,'' Johnny Cash, 71, wrote in the liner notes of his newest album, ''The Man Comes Around.'' He has suffered from poor health in recent years including diabetes, glaucoma, asthma and pneumonia.
       The couple toured and recorded together for more than 40 years. They shared two Grammys in the 1960s for their renditions of ''Jackson'' and ''If I Were A Carpenter.'' She won a trophy in her own right in 2000 for her acclaimed solo album ''Press On.''
       A witty raconteur, June Carter Cash dabbled in acting, notably playing Robert Duvall's mother in the 1997 film ''The Apostle.'' She would wryly note that in real life, she was only 18 months Duvall's senior. She also appeared a few times in ''Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman,'' a TV series starring family friend Jane Seymour.
       Cash's mother, Maybelle Carter, formed one-third of the Carter Family, one of country music's first superstar acts. As a young girl, she toured America with her mother and sisters, Helen and Anita.
       In addition to her husband and Carlene Carter, she is survived by another daughter, Rosie, as well as her sole child with Cash, John Carter Cash.

June Carter Cash lauded at funeral

HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. 18 May 20093 (AP) — June Carter Cash was lauded Sunday at a tearful funeral by fans, country music stars, a Hollywood actress and a representative of the prime minister of Jamaica.

The wife of country music star Johnny Cash died at 73 Thursday of complications from heart surgery. Though best-known for her connection to Cash, she also was a musician, comedian, actress, author and second-generation member of the seminal Carter Family country music family.

"My daddy has lost his dearest companion ... and his soul mate," said Johnny Cash's daughter, Rosanne Cash. "If being a wife were a corporation, June would have been a CEO. It was her most treasured role."

The 2,000-capacity First Baptist Church of Hendersonville was nearly full, with Cash and Carter relations taking up about a quarter of the seating. Among those attending were Hank Williams Jr., Tom T. Hall, Kris Kristofferson, Rodney Crowell, Marty Stuart, Connie Smith, Trisha Yearwood, Ricky Skaggs, and a distraught Carlene Carter, June Carter Cash's daughter.

The body of June Carter Cash lie in a light blue coffin at the front of the sanctuary, flanked by hundreds of flower arrangements. Johnny Cash, 71, looking somber and composed, was wheeled into the service in a wheelchair.

Gospel songs were sang by Larry Gatlin and The Gatlin Brothers, Emmylou Harris, Sheryl Crow and the Oak Ridge Boys. Actress Jane Seymour, who worked with June Carter Cash on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, spoke of having "giggling fits" on set, and learning "about acting and love."

Through a representative, Prime Minister P.J. Patterson of Jamaica praised the Cash's for their charity work there, where they maintain a home.

During an open forum, several fans spoke of brushes with June Carter Cash, or her affect on them despite never meeting.

"I've listened to their music, and it's been almost a religious experience for me," said fan Bill Dewey.

A friend from Hendersonville recalled June Carter Cash leading a performance of Happy Birthday for a cashier at a local hardware store. Rosanne Cash said that was not an usual event.

"She treated the cashier at the supermarket with the same regard as she did the president of the United States," she said.

Her love of flowers and a certain shade of blue — she named it June Blue— also were remembered.

June Carter Cash began her career singing and playing autoharp with her family, which included now-deceased sisters Helen and Anita. She had trouble singing on key, and developed her comic timing to help compensate.

She became a gifted cornpone comedian and actress, which years later led to her being recruited by director Elia Kazan (On the Waterfront ) to study acting in New York.

She was in acting classes with Robert Duvall and James Dean, and occasionally took acting parts throughout her career. Her last was playing Duvall's mother in The Apostle in 1997.

June Carter Cash wqs marriud to country singer Carl Smith for four years in the 1950s, and had daughter Carlene Carter from that union. She had another daughter, Rosie Nix, during a subsequent marriage to Rip Nix.

She met Johnny Cash backstage at the Grand Ole Opry radio show in the late 1950s. She turned down an offer of her own network variety series to tour with Cash for $500 a week. They married in 1968.

At that point, her career merged with his to a large extent, and the duo scored hits like Jackson. With Merle Kilgore, June Carter Cash wrote the Johnny Cash hit Ring of Fire, which is about their courtship.

June Carter Cash helped Johnny Cash through bouts of drug addiction, toured and recorded with him, and had their son John Carter Cash in 1970. She made two solo albums, Appalachian Pride in 1975 and Press On in 1999. The latter won a Grammy Award.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.