News / Arts & Entertainment

    Legendary Country Singer Slim Whitman Dead at 90

    FILE - This 1980 file photo originally provided by Epic Records shows Country singer Slim Whitman.
    FILE - This 1980 file photo originally provided by Epic Records shows Country singer Slim Whitman.
    Reuters
    Legendary Country singer and songwriter Slim Whitman, known for his smooth falsetto and high-pitched yodeling talent, died in Florida on Wednesday at the age of 90, his son-in-law said.
     
    Roy Beagle, who is married to Whitman's daughter Sharon,  said the singer-songwriter who was born Ottis Dewey Whitman Jr.  was admitted to hospital on Tuesday.
     
    “He died last night at the Orange Park hospital at about 12:45 this morning of heart failure,” Beagle told Reuters.  “We had a 90th birthday party for him in January and he looked good, but he had been in failing health since then.”
     
    Whitman, who was self-taught on the guitar and had a string of hits including “Rose Marie,” “Indian Love Call” and “Secret Love,” recorded dozens of albums and sold millions of records during his career, which began in the late 1940s.
     
    Whitman was working in a shipyard in Florida when he was discovered by Colonel Tom Parker, who later became Elvis Presley's manager. He signed his first recording contract with RCA records in 1948.
     
    The singer and Elvis toured together in the 1950s.
     
    Whitman released “Love Song of the Waterfall” in the early 1950s, which more than two decades later was on the soundtrack of the film “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”.
     
    It was followed by “Indian Love Call,” his first million seller. A few years later, in 1955, he joined the Grand Ole Opry.
     
    His other hits include “Danny Boy,” “Red River Valley” and “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You.”
     
    International Fame
     
    Although Whitman was once known as “America's Favorite Folksinger,” he was more popular in Europe than in the United States, particularly in Britain where he did many tours.
     
    “I have sold 120 million records,” Whitman said in an interview last year. “Half of those could be in Europe.”
     
    On his birthday last year the singer said he received a greeting from Africa.
     
    “We toured everywhere, Australia, New Zealand. I had a six-week tour of Africa,” he added. “All that started with England.”
     
    His long-time friend, Grand Ole Opry star George Hamilton IV, credits Whitman for the rise of Country music internationally.

    “He was the key, pivotal figure in spreading Country music internationally, long before the rest of us,” Hamilton said in an interview after learning of Whitman's death.
     
    “He was just a wonderful, gracious Southern gentleman and a dear friend. We toured together several times over there and our paths continued crossing at the Wembley Festival,” he said, referring to the International Festival of Country Music at Wembley Arena.
     
    Hamilton said he regretted that Whitman had not been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
     
    Whitman gained new fans in the late 1970s and 1980s when a TV album featuring 20 of his songs was released and for his late-night commercials featuring his yodeling vocals. The commercials inspired the late talk show host Johnny Carson to style one of his “Tonight Show” sketch characters after Whitman.
     
    In 1996 Whitman was featured in the soundtrack for the science fiction film “Mars Attacks,” and more than a decade later in 2010 released his last album, “Twilight on the Trail.”
     
    Despite his international fame, Beagle said Whitman was the happiest living a low-key life in Florida.
     
    “He really enjoyed the farm and fishing more than anything else,” he said.
     
    In addition to his daughter, Sharon, Whitman is survived by his son, Byron, two grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

    You May Like

    Russian-speaking Muslim Exiles Fear Possible Russia-Turkey Thaw

    Exiled from Russia as Islamic radicals and extremists, thousands found asylum in Turkey

    US Presidential Election Ends at Conventions for Territorial Citizens

    Citizens of US territories like Guam or Puerto Rico enjoy participation in US political process but are denied right to vote for president

    UN Syria Envoy: 'Devil Is in the Details' of Russian Aleppo Proposal

    UN uncertain about the possible humanitarian impact of Russian proposal to establish escape corridors in Aleppo

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    New in Music Alley

    Take It From The Top: Stanley Jordani
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    May 17, 2016 5:01 PM
    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously. He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously.  He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

     

     

     

     

    Blogs