Johnny Cash was born on Feb. 26, 1932, in Kingsland, Ark. Johnny, who died Sept. 12, 2003, broke through to radio audiences after a successful audition for Sun Records owner Sam Phillips in 1955. His first single, "Cry! Cry! Cry!," was backed with "Hey, Porter!," a song he wrote while serving in the U.S. Air Force.
While growing up, he admired Opry regulars Hank Snow, Cowboy Copas, Ernest Tubb and the Carter Family, but it was his mother who encouraged him most, saying, "God has His hand on you. You'll be singing for the world someday."
Johnny starred as a bank robber in 1961's Door-to-Door Maniac, his debut film. And more than 30 years before Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, he co-wrote, co-produced, narrated and provided songs for 1973's Gospel Road: A Story of Jesus, which features wife June Carter Cash as Mary Magdalene. He went on to appear in several made-for-TV movies in the '70s and '80s, and made his last film contribution as narrator of the 2003 Tommy Lee Jones thriller The Hunted.
Billboard No. 1 singles:
"I Walk the Line" (1956), "There You Go" (1957), "Ballad of a Teenage Queen" (1958), "Guess Things Happen That Way" (1958), "Don't Take Your Guns to Town" (1959), "Ring of Fire" (1963), "Understand Your Man" (1964), "Folsom Prison Blues" (1968), "Daddy Sang Bass" (1969), "A Boy Named Sue" (1969), "Sunday Morning Coming Down" (1970), "Flesh and Blood" (1971), "One Piece at a Time" (1976), "Highwayman" (1985, with Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson)