Singer Buck Owens, the flashy rhinestone cowboy who shaped the sound of country music with hits like "Act Naturally" and brought the genre to TV on the long-running "Hee Haw," died at the age of 76.
Owens died at his home in Bakersfield, said family spokesman Jim Shaw. The cause of death was not immediately known. Owens had undergone throat cancer surgery in 1993 and was hospitalized with pneumonia in 1997.
His career was one of the most phenomenal in country music, with a string of more than 20 No. 1 records, most released from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s.
In addition to music, Owens had a highly visible TV career as co-host of "Hee Haw" from 1969 to 1986. With guitarist Roy Clark, he led viewers through a potpourri of country music and hayseed humor.
"It's an honest show," Owens told The Associated Press in 1995. "There's no social message - no crusade. It's fun and simple."
He spent much of his time away concentrating on his business interests, which included a Bakersfield TV station and radio stations in Bakersfield and Phoenix.
"Hee Haw" (1969) TV Series .... Himself (Host) (1969-1986)
"Buck Owens' Ranch Show" (1966) TV Series .... Himself (host)
Murder Can Hurt You (1980) (TV) .... Sheriff Tim MacSkye
- Skrawl, The/Pie Day/Secret Passages (2002) TV Episode (voice) .... Chalk Dad
THE LEAGUE OF THEMSELVES
"The Dukes of Hazzard"
- Hughie Hogg Strikes Again (1981) TV Episode .... Himself