Whatever happened to Buck Owens of "Hee Haw"? - F.L., Salt Lake City, Utah.
Stats: Born Aug. 12, 1929, in Sherman, Texas, as Alvis Edgar Owens. Attended public school in Sherman. Married twice (his first wife is country singer Bonnie Owens), five children (his oldest son is country singer Buddy Allen.)Early years: Owens left school as a teenager and had his first radio show at 16 in Arizona, where he also worked hauling produce. At 20, he moved to Bakersfield, Calif., which was becoming a West Coast center of country music. He starting playing small clubs and also became a back-up musician for top recording artists. Capitol Records signed him as a solo in 1956. He had his first national hit "Under Your Spell Again" in 1959.
Famous for: Owens was a top recording star with a 16-year run of No. 1 hits on the country charts when he hosted the outrageous country music/humor TV series "Hee Haw," 1970-86.
In recent years: Owens continued touring and making hit records during his run on "Hee Haw." He also invested in radio stations, recording studios and a ranch. In 1986, he decided to retire from performing to run his various business enterprises from his Bakersfield headquarters.
- Send questions to Whatever happened to . . ., Detroit Free Press, 321 W. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit 48226. Volume of mail prohibits personal replies.