player best known these days as the singer whose music made Martians' heads explode in the film Mars Attacks
. Born Ottis Dewey Whitman, Jr. in 1924, Whitman taught himself to play guitar left-handed during his Navy hitch in World War II
. Colonel Tom Parker
saw Whitman perform at a radio station in the late 1940s and sent an acetate
to RCA, who gave him a recording contract and the nickname "Slim".
In the course of his career he was featured on the Louisiana Hayride and the Grand Ole Opry. At one point he was the number one country artist in Britain, and his Red River Valley album topped the charts there. His big score came when he released "All My Best", a twenty-song collection that was primarily marketed and sold via television. The sales were phenomenal, and the commercial imprinted the image of the skinny yodeler and his piercing falsetto indelibly on the minds of a generation.
Slim Whitman died of heart failure on June 19, 2013 at Orange Park Medical Center in Orange Park, Florida. He was 90 years old.