Hee Haw twin dies 8 months after brother
[Ed. note: This story dates from Jan 10, 2009]
Jon Hager, who was half of the musical comedy duo the Hager Twins on the variety TV series Hee Haw, has died. He was 67.
Sam Lovullo, who produced Hee Haw and was a friend of Hager's, said Hager was found dead in his apartment in Nashville in Friday morning. He was in his bed and apparently died in his sleep.
Lovullo said Hager had been in poor health and was depressed since his identical twin brother, Jim Hager, died in May 2008.
The twins were in the original cast of the syndicated TV show, which had its debut in 1969, satirizing country life with a mixture of music and comedy. Both were guitarists and drummers and continued to perform together after leaving the show in 1986.
They said in 1998 that they had been together all their lives except for 3½ years, during which Jon left Los Angeles and moved to Nashville. Jim remained on the West Coast, but eventually followed.
"They were always contributing their talents to whatever was needed, not for money but just so they could help out. They did a lot of fundraisers and were supportive of young people who were ill," Lovullo said.
The brothers were born Aug. 30, 1941, in Chicago and were adopted by Jack and Frances Hager, a Methodist minister and a schoolteacher.
They began their singing careers in the church choir, moving on to performing on a local TV station as teenagers on Saturday mornings.
Both brothers served in the U.S. army. After the military, they moved to California, where they performed backup at an L.A. club with the likes of the Carpenters, John Denver and Kenny Rogers.
Their job at Disneyland got them noticed by Buck Owens, who signed them on. Both were cast members of Hee Haw from 1969 to1986. The show lasted until 1993.