Jim Hager, who found fame on TV's Hee Haw in an act with his brother Jon, has died. He was 62.
Hager was found collapsed Thursday in the parking lot of a coffee shop in Nashville, Tenn., and pronounced dead at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
The cause of death was an apparent heart attack, friends said.
Hee Haw, a 1969 show modelled on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, combined country music and skits with gentle skewering of country life.
Jim and Jon Hager, who were twins, were original cast members known for their cornball one-liners.
"People laughed at themselves," Jim Hager said in a 1988 interview. "They liked the chemistry on the show and the fast pace."
Producer Sam Lovullo said he hired the twins, who had previously worked with host Buck Owens, because he wanted male talent to go with the many attractive female stars, who often appeared as scantily-clad farmer's daughters.
Hee Haw, which had two Canadian writers, was produced by Yongestreet Productions, named for Toronto's Yonge Street, and had guests such as Canadians Don Harron and Gordie Tapp, as well as many U.S. stars.
It was shot in Nashville and ended up running for 21 years. It often wasn't sophisticated, but had a big following, Hager once said.
"The writers count on the person delivering the line to pull it off. It was cornball, no denying it," he said.
The Hager twins were born in Chicago on Aug. 30, 1946. They sang together in their father's church choir and as teens were regular performers on a weekly Saturday morning television show for teens on WGN-TV in Chicago.
They went to college, then served in the U.S. army, where they performed for officers' and NCO clubs in the United States and Europe.
Then they moved to California, where they played guitar and drums and sang backup with The Carpenters, the Christy Minstrels, John Denver and Kenny Rogers.
Owens first saw the twins at Disneyland and signed them to a recording and management contract.
They opened live performances for Owens for years until his connection helped them land jobs on Hee Haw.
They left the show in 1988, but continued to perform together, appearing in TV shows such as Bionic Woman and Country Kitchen.
They said in 1988 that they had been together all their lives except for three years when Jon left Los Angeles and moved to Nashville. Jim soon followed him.
"They still maintained that youthful look and carried on like young people," Lovullo said Friday. "It is a big loss and a sudden one," he said.
Jon Hager, the surviving twin, lives in Nashville, but has not issued a statement on his brother's death.