CBS’ Hee Haw made its prime-time debut a little over five decades ago. The comedy-variety show featured country music and humor set on the fictitious Kornfield Kounty.
Eventually, it became one of the most beloved television shows running for two decades – from 1969 until 1989. Although it has been years since it came down to the final curtain, many fans are still wondering what happened to its incredible cast members after the show ended.
Here’s what we found out!
From 1969 to 1986, Buck Owens co-hosted the popular variety show – at the same time, he was the frontman for the American band Buck Owens and the Buckaroos. The band recorded eight albums from 1967 to 1970, all of which were top sellers. In the 1970s, the popularity of Hee Haw helped the band further enjoy huge crowds at concert halls.
However, in 1986, Owens left Hee Haw and was no longer recording. He instead devoted his time managing his business empire from Bakersfield. Unfortunately, Owens suffered from various health problems many years later. He died in his sleep of an apparent heart attack in 2006 – just a few hours after performing at his club.
His stint at Hee Haw propelled Roy Clark to stardom that he became one of the highest-paid country music stars in the early 1970s. He was even hailed Entertainment of the Year – not only once, but three times – by the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association.
Since then, the American singer made a significant impact on the industry. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and Fiddlers Hall of Fame. He was also one of Virginia Musical Museum & Virginia Music Hall of Fame’s founding inductees.
He died in 2018 due to complications of pneumonia.
Samples was famous for being the show’s comedian as he made a bumbling personality who often stumbled, forgot his lines, and messed up jokes.
Although he was known for his television appearances, Samples recorded several comedy albums throughout the years too. As a result, he earned the Comedian of the Year Awards nomination from the Country Music Awards.
Samples were on Hee Haw for fourteen years until he died in 1983.
David “Stringbean” Akeman
One of David Akeman‘s usual acts was to read a “letter from home” to his friends. Then, whenever he’s asked about the most recent letter, he would pull it out, telling them he’s been carrying it “right next to my heart.”
He also often reprised his role as the beloved Scarecrow character who would say one-liners, only to be shouted down by the crow on his shoulder. Unfortunately, in 1973, Akeman’s time on the show ended after he and his wife were shot dead shortly after returning home following his performance at the Grand Ole Opry.
Grandpa Jones has been known for reacting to the show’s sketches with his iconic phrase “Outrageous.” He would also often play banjo by himself or with fellow banjo player Akeman.
In 1998, Jones – who was a Country Music Hall of Famer – suffered two strokes and passed away a month later.
Minnie Pearl, whose real name is Sarah Ophelia Colley Cannon, significantly influenced younger female country music singers. In fact, she appeared at the Grand Ole Opry for more than five decades.
In 1991, she suffered a devastating stroke, bringing her career as a performer to an end. She died five years later, for which reasons were attributed to complications from another stroke.
When Archie Campbell is not busy with the show, he would be recording comedy-music albums with Bull Session at Bull’s Creek – which he recorded with Junior Samples – being the most popular one.
When Hee Haw ended, Campbell focused more on golfing and being an avid painter. He even opened his own gallery in Knoxville. Campbell died in 1987.
Hee Haw has helped launch Lulu Roman’s career as a singer-comedian. Later, she started singing Southern Gospel music and has since recorded countless albums. Today, she continues to perform as well as do stand-up comedy.
So, which among these members of Hee Haw are your favorites?
Archie Campbell, Bucks Owens, David Akeman, Grandpa Jones, Hee Haw, Junior Samples, Lulu Roman, Minnie Pearl, roy clark