JUNE CARTER (CASH)
Born Valerie June Carter, 23 June 1929, Maces Spring, Viriginia
June Carter was one of the three daughters of Maybelle and Ezra Carter. As a member of the famous Carter Family, Maybelle brought her children into the group (as did parents in many family acts), thus beginning the Carter Sisters' long, influential careers as both members of country music's first family and as individual performers. June joined the Carter Family in 1939, broadcasting on Border Radio in Texas. Helen, the oldest of the three sisters, was the most capable instrumentalist and played accordion ; June, the best comedienne and performer, was on autoharp; and Anita, the youngest, was the best singer (soprano) and handled the bass. In 1949, June had a # 9 country hit with Homer and Jethro, "Baby, It's Cold Outside", on RCA Victor. Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters took up permanent residence at the Grand Old Opry in 1950. Though they maintained an old-fashioned image, in 1956 and 1957 they opened for Elvis Presley. June married country singer Carl Smith in 1952 and divorced him in the late fifties. Singer Carlene Carter (born 1955) is their daughter. Following a second marriage to Rip Nix, and an acting career that included TV shows such as "Gunsmoke" and "Jim Bowie", she joined Johnny Cash's road show in 1961, with her mother and sisters. With Merle Kilgore, she wrote Cash's 1963 hit, "Ring Of Fire". The next year, Johnny and June scored their first of several duet hits, "It Ain't Me Baby" (# 4 country, # 58 pop). Their covers of "Jackson" (1967) and "If I Were A Carpenter" (1970) also went Top 10 (country). The couple married in 1968. From that point on they were inseparable, recording together, touring together and appearing in movies and TV shows. In 1975, June released her mountain-flavoured LP "Appalachian Pride", produced by Cash, followed by several other solo albums. She published two autobiographies, "Among My Klediments" (1979) and "From The Heart" (1987). The Carter Sisters continued to perform together, and in 1988, with June's daughter Carlene Carter, the sisters recorded "Wildwood Flower" for Mercury. One of her last public appearances was on April 7th in Nashville at the CMT Flameworthy 2003 Video Music Awards, where she accepted a career achievement award on behalf of her husband, who had recently returned home after being hospitalised for pneumonia. June underwent surgery on May 7th to replace a heart valve ; she passed away at Baptist Hospital in Nashville on May 15th of complications from heart surgery.
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