Singer, Songwriter. He is best remembered for his songs, "Oh, Pretty Woman," and "Only the Lonely." He wrote "Claudette" (1958) which went to No. 30 when sung by the Everly Brothers. His trademark image included wearing dark sunglasses. His grave has no marker. He grew up in Wink, Texas, for his sixth birthday his parents gave him a guitar, and his father taught him how to play it. About 1942, the Orbisons moved to Fort Worth, Texas, where his father found work in the aircraft industry during World War II. An epidemic in 1944 had his parents sending the children back to live with their grandmother in Vernon, where Roy wrote his first song, "A Vow of Love" (1945). He formed his first band when he was 13, in 1949, calling themselves, "The Wink Westerners." Over the next few years, his band began playing for local schools and radio stations, slowing gaining some recognition. He graduated from Wink High School in 1954, and his band friends had put together a new song called, "The Ooby Dooby," which Roy agreed to record at a local studio in Dallas. It became his first big hit record, in 1955. In 1957, he married Claudette Frady, with whom he had three sons. Claudette was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1966, and two years later, he lost two of his sons in a house fire. He toured in England with the Beatles in 1962, before their first breakthrough, and had a major hit with "Oh, Pretty Woman" (1964). On May 25, 1969, he remarried, to a German girl, Barbara Anne Marie Welhonnen Jakobs, whom he had met in England, and they remained together until his death in 1988. Near the end of his life, he was a very close friend with Canadian singer k.d. lang. One of his last recordings was a version of "Crying," sung by the two of them as a duet, for which he was awarded a Grammy. He was on tour with a group called the "Traveling Willburys," which included former Beatle George Harrison, when he suffered a heart attack and died at his mother's house. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson