JUNE CARTER CASH Biography - Musicians


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Name: June Carter Cash                                                               
Born: 23 June 1929 Scott County, Virginia, U.S.                                       
Died: 15 May 2003 Nashville, Tennessee, USA.                                         
Valerie June Carter Cash (June 23, 1929 - May 15, 2003) was a singer, songwriter,     
actress and comedian and was a member of the Carter Family, and the second wife       
of singer Johnny Cash. She played the guitar, banjo, and autoharp.                   
Cash was born Valerie June Carter in Maces Springs, Virginia. She was born into       
country music and performed with the Carter Family from the young age of ten,         
beginning in 1939. In March 1943, when the Carter Family trio stopped recording       
together after the WBT contract, Maybelle Carter, with encouragement from her         
husband Ezra, formed "Mother Maybelle & the Carter Sisters" with her daughters       
Helen, Anita, and June. The new group first aired on radio station WRNL in           
Richmond, Virginia, on June 1. Doc and Carl rejoined them in late 1945. June,         
then 16, was a co-announcer with Ken Allyn and did the commercials on the radio       
shows for "Red Star Flour", "Martha White," and "Thalheimers Department Store,"       
just to name a few. For the next year, the Carters and Doc and Carl did show         
dates within driving range of Richmond through Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and       
Pennsylvania. She later said she had to work harder at her music than her             
sisters, but she had her own special talent, comedy. A highlight of the road         
shows was her "Aunt Polly" comedy routine. Carl wrote in his memoirs that June       
was "a natural born clown, if there ever was one." She attended John Marshall         
High School during this period.                                                       
Ezra Carter declined Grand Ole Opry offers to move the family to Nashville,           
Tennessee a number of times because the Opry would not permit Chet Atkins to         
accompany the group. Finally, in 1950 Opry management relented and the group,         
along with Atkins, became part of the Opry company. Here the family befriended       
Hank Williams and Elvis Presley (to whom they were distantly related), and June       
met Johnny Cash.                                                                     
With her thin and lanky frame, June Carter often played a comedic foil during         
the group's performances alongside other Opry stars Faron Young and Webb Pierce.     
June Carter Cash is best known for singing and songwriting, but she was also an       
author, actress, comedian, philanthropist and humanitarian. Her acting roles         
included Mrs. "Momma" Dewey in Robert Duvall's 1998 movie The Apostle, and           
Sister Ruth, wife to Johnny Cash's character Kid Cole, on Dr. Quinn, Medicine         
Woman (1993-1997). June was also "Momma James," in The Last Days of Frank and         
Jesse James.                                                                         
In 1962 she and Merle Kilgore wrote "Ring of Fire". The song documents Carter's       
feelings of conflict arising from her relationship with Johnny Cash. As a singer,     
she had both a solo career and a career singing with, first, her family, and         
later, her husband. As a solo artist, she became somewhat successful with upbeat     
country tunes of the 1950s like "Jukebox Blues" and the comedic hit "No               
Swallerin Place" by Frank Loesser with her exaggerated breaths. June also             
recorded "The Heel," in the 1960s along with many other songs. She won a Grammy       
Award in 1999 for her solo album, Press On. Her last album, Wildwood Flower, was     
released posthumously in 2003 and won two additional Grammys. It contains bonus       
video enhancements showing extracts from the film of the recording sessions           
which took place at the Carter Family Estate in Hiltons, Virginia on September       
18-20, 2002. The songs on the album include "Big Yellow Peaches," "Sinking in         
the Lonesome Sea," "Temptation," and the trademark staple "Wildwood Flower."         
The first draft of her screenplay "The Wildwood Flower" (dated May 1, 1986) is       
in the possession of Robin Moore. It was given to Moore at a restaurant in New       
York City when she was lunching with him and Robert Duvall. She had cast Duvall       
as Jim Laughner and hoped that with Moore's help this screenplay would be made       
into a film.