Musician Roy Orbison

Celebrities, Celebrity Q&A, People
on January 30, 2005

Can you give me a brief history of Roy Orbison's life?
—Kristi K., Colorado

Born in Vernon, Texas (pop. 11,660), on April 23, 1936, Orbison remains one of the most influential men in rock music history. During the 1960s, he celebrated a four-year run of hits, including Crying, Pretty Paper, Blue Bayou and Dream Baby, which made him the top-selling act in the nation. His biggest hit was 1964's Oh, Pretty Woman. However, he found as much tragedy as fame. His first wife, Claudette, died in a motorcycle accident in 1966, and two of their three sons perished in a fire two years later. The singer died of heart failure at age 52 during a comeback with the Traveling Wilburys in 1988. Orbison is survived by his wife, Barbara, whom he married in 1969, and their sons, Roy Jr. and Alex, as well as son Wesley, whom he had with Claudette. Barbara now devotes her days to keeping the music of Orbison alive. Upcoming projects include three new DVD releases and a duets project.