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 Ernie “Tennessee Ernie” Ford

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Ernie “Tennessee Ernie” Ford

Singer, television host, radio announcer. He was born in Bristol, Tennesee, sang in the school choirs and played the trombone in the band. In 1937 he worked as an announcer for WOPI-AM in Bristol which he left to attended the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. He held radio jobs in Atlanta and Knoxville between 1939 and 1941 and joined the Air Force during World War II. After his dischage from the service in 1946 he went to live in San Bernardino, California and landed an announcer's job with KXLA in Pasadena. His comical Tennessee Ernie character "bless your pea-pickin' little heart" caught the ear of disc jockey-TV host Cliffie Stone, who made him a regular cast member of Los Angeles's Hometown Jamboree country music television and radio shows. A resonant-voiced baritone, he signed with Capitol Records in 1948 singing everything from country & western, pop, rock & roll to gospel and most of his recordings made it to the Top Ten. He sang at the Grand Ole Opry in 1950, and in 1953 he became the first country singer to appear at London's prestigious Palladium. Soon NBC hired him to MC the television game show the Kollege of Musical Knowledge, and also to host his own weekday program, The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show (1956–1961). He also made numerous guest appearances on I Love Lucy and other TV shows and became a fixture on television. His album "Great Gospel Songs" won a Grammy in 1964. Ford has been awarded three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, for radio, records and television. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1984 and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1990. Ford fell ill in after leaving a state dinner at the White House hosted by President George H. W. Bush, and died of advanced liver disease in Reston, Virginia on October 17, 1991, exactly thirty-six years after "Sixteen Tons" was released and one day shy of the first anniversary of his induction into the Hall of Fame.

Bio by: Debbie


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"Tennessee Ernie Ford"
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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 3 Nov 1998
  • Find A Grave Memorial 3806
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Ernie “Tennessee Ernie” Ford (13 Feb 1919–17 Oct 1991), Find A Grave Memorial no. 3806, citing Alta Mesa Memorial Park, Palo Alto, Santa Clara County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .