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June Carter Cash dead at 73
June Carter Cash - Photo © Ron Newcomer, used with permission
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Valerie June Carter was born on 23 June 1929 in Maces Springs, Scott County, Virginia, USA. The second of the three daughters of Mother Maybelle Carter of the legendary Carter Family. Her mother taught her to play autoharp (and later guitar) and in 1939, she and sisters Anita and Helen Carter were appearing on Border Radio as members of the Carter Family. When the original Carter Family retired in 1943, she sang and played rhythm guitar in the family group, Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters, on various radio stations, and from 1950 onwards, for many years, they were regulars on the Grand Ole Opry. Although not possessing the finer vocal talents of her two sisters, she did develop a flair for comedy, which she used to good effect in a character she called Aunt Polly. In 1949, she enjoyed a country and pop hit with a duet version of "Baby It's Cold Outside" recorded with comedy duo Homer And Jethro. For a time during the 50s, she was married to singer Carl Smith, with whom she had two daughters, Rozanna and Rebecca Carlene, who as Carlene Carter went on to a successful solo career. They toured with Elvis Presley in the mid-50s, but in the early 60s, June began to work with Johnny Cash's show, soon being joined by her mother and sisters. In 1964, her recording with Cash of "It Ain't Me Babe" made both country and pop charts and in 1967, they had a number 2 country hit with their now famous version of "Jackson". She married Cash on 1 March 1968 and from that point, her career has naturally run in conjunction with his as she continued to be a regular and expected member of his show. The following year they were voted Vocal Group of the Year and their son John Carter Cash was born in 1970.

June passed away after complications from heart surgery on May 15, 2003. June Carter Cash is survived by her husband, Johnny, daughters Carlene Carter and Rosie, son John Carter Cash, and step-daughters Rosanne, Tara, Kathy and Cindy.

Photo used with permission of Ron Newcomer.

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