Appalachian Country Girl!
While some people associate June Carter Cash, with just being the second wife of Johnny Cash. She was so much more than being the side kick to Johnny Cash! Back in the day, when she was performing as a member of the Carter Family she was also a five-time Grammy award-winning American singer, songwriter, actress, dancer, comedian, and author later in life.
Prior to her marriage to Cash, she was professionally known as June Carter and occasionally still credited as such after her marriage. She was also a talented musician who could play the guitar, banjo, harmonica, and autoharp! She even acted in several movies and television shows. Carter Cash won five Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Christian Music Hall of Fame in 2009.
June Carter Cash was born Valerie June Carter in Maces Spring, Virginia, Her parents were country music performers and she performed with the Carter Family from the age of 10, in 1939. In March 1943, when the Carter Family trio stopped recording together as a family.
Shortly after “Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters” with her daughters, Helen, Anita, and June created a new group that first airs on radio station WRNL in Richmond, Virginia, on June 1. While June had to try harder to sing up to par with her sisters, it was her comedic sense of humor that made her shine!
A highlight of the road shows was her “Aunt Polly” comedy routine. Maybelle and her daughters moved to Sunshine Sue Workman’s “Old Dominion Barn Dance” on the WRVA Richmond station. After a while there, they moved to WNOX in Knoxville, Tennessee, where they met Chet Atkins with Homer and Jethro.
Along the way, she performed with Hank Williams (and sang at his funeral), toured with Elvis, and studied theater at New York’s mythic Neighborhood Studio with acclaimed directors Lee Strasberg and Sandy Meisner. She hung out and swapped songs with Eartha Kitt. Became a member of the Grand Ole Opry at age 20. June and Patsy Cline babysat each other’s kids. Ruth Graham was one of her best friends. Her first husband, Carl Smith, was the biggest country artist of the 1950s. And her marriage and musical collaborations with Johnny Cash continue to inspire generations of fans and lovers of love everywhere.
In the late 1950s, after her marriage to country singer Carl Smith broke up, June Carter moved to New York to study acting at the behest of director Elia Kazan, who had seen her perform while scouting Tennessee for movie locations.
In 1961, she turned down an offer to work on a variety show that had Woody Allen as one of the writers, agreeing instead to tour with Johnny Cash for $500 a week. They married in 1968 after he proposed to her on stage on London, Ontario.
In the 1950s, she was twice married: first to honky-tonk singer Carl Smith (daughter: Rebecca Carlene Carter) and Edwin “Rip” Nix, (daughter: Rozanna Rosey Nix Adams). Both daughters became singers. John Carter Cash, born in 1970, was the product from her marriage to singer Johnny Cash.
Elvis Presley introduced June to the music of Johnny Cash in the mid-50s and she began working with Johnny after a chance meeting at the Grand Ol’ Opry a few years later. She retired from her solo singing career after marrying Cash in 1968.
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