Slim Whitman, Yodeling Country Singer Featured in 'Mars Attacks!", Dead at 90
Slim Whitman, whose yodeling vocals sold millions of records and became a TV fixture in the '80s and '90s thanks to his seemingly ubiquitous ads, died Wednesday at age 90, the Associated Press reports.
Whitman's son-in-law Roy Beagle said the singer died of heart failure at the Orange Park Medical Center in Florida.
Born Ottis Dewey Whitman Jr. in Tampa on Jan. 23, 1923, Whitman's decades-long career yielded millions of record sales and produced a number of hits, including "Love Song of the Waterfall" and "Red River Valley."
His "Indian Love Call" which was featured in the 1996 film "Mars Attacks!" (The song fended off the Martian invasion by causing the aliens' heads to explode.)
Whitman typically enjoyed more popularity in Britain than in America, but starting in the 1980s he was introduced to a new generation of fans in the U.S. via a series of TV ads hawking albums such as "All My Best," "Just for You" and "The Best."
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In addition to upping Whitman's profile, the TV ads made Whitman -- with his high-pitched yodel, sideburns and non-heartthrob looks -- the target of jabs, with "Tonight Show" host Johnny Carson taking pokes at the singer in his monologs and "SCTV" spoofing him in a skit.
Whitman released "Twilight on the Trail," his final album and first studio album in 26 years, in 2010.
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The singer is survived by his daughter, Sharon Beagle, and son, Byron Whitman.
Here's a classic Slim Whitman ad: