Jim Owen, 78, country singer/songwriter (Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man)
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That Derek
2020-03-09 13:45:49 UTC

Branson Star Jim Owen Dead at 78
March 9, 2020 Jason Wert branson, jim owen, obituary

A man who fell in love with Hank Williams, Sr.’s music at age 8 and turned that love into songwriting and performing that entertained millions has died.

According to Branson entertainers and friends, Jim Owen passed away Saturday at the age of 78.

Owen had a love of country music that began with Hank, Sr. that grew during his youth and in 1969 Mel Tillis helped Owen move to Nashville to begin a songwriting career.

Owen wrote several hit songs during his career, including “Too Lonely Too Long” and “One More Drink” for Mel Tillis, “Little Boy’s Prayer” for West Plains native Porter Wagoner, and “The Telephone” for Jerry Reed. He’s best known as a songwriter for the smash hit “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man” performed by Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn.

Owen’s love of Hank Williams, Sr. was so passionate through his life that he produced a variety of tribute concerts and broadcasts to his hero. On New Year’s Day 1985, his 10-hour radio show about Hank was broadcast nationwide.

Called “country music’s least known superstar” by Charlie Daniels, Owen was given the honor of closing the Grand Ole Opry’s 60th Anniversary show.

Owen performed for over two decades in the Branson area, including a theater inside the Branson Mall that was destroyed in the 2012 Leap Day tornado outbreak, and the Doug Gabriel Theatre.
Bryan Styble
2020-03-09 22:50:49 UTC
As a Show-Me State native--not to mention as a guy whose fisherman father who twice or even thrice every summer for a decade drove the family* from St. Louis down to the [decades-pre-country-music-Disneyfied] Branson area--it's quite embarrassing that I have never even HEARD of Owen, much less sampled his music. ESPECIALLY given my status as a serious Hank Sr. appreciator!

Which raises a important question regarding the late Owen's principal claim to fame.

You see, nothing so ruins--for me at least--ANY actor's historic portrayal more than the portrayer being the decidedly wrong height.

For instance, I once saw (sometime Batman TV henchman!) Gene Dynarski play Stalin onstage, circa 1986. Dynarski, a well-known and quite-accomplished character actor, plausibly recreated Stalin's maimed left arm (yet inexplicably rendered his lines in American English, rather than Georgian-accented Russian!).

Yet the talented actor was NEVER was convincing as the despot--simply because the Soviet strongman was about 5' 8", while Dynarski may be something like 6'3". Sorry for that imprecision, but this can be reported: I looked seriously UP when chatting post-performance with the actor [outside the playhouse, on the southern side of the Sunset Blvd. sidewalk in East Hollywood], and in those days I stood 5' 11.5".

Accordingly, before I summon up any videos of the late Jim Owen doing his schtick on the decidedly-short-statured Hank Williams [Sr.], I wanna make sure Owen wasn't physically more suited to play, uh, Alan Jackson or T-Bone Burnette.

So: anyone herein know how tall, or more important, how SHORT Owen was? And advance thanks! (But no e-handshake here in The Coronavirus Era!)

* Including their non-fishing younger son Bryan-then-Brian, who instead played tennis and golf whilst the folks were out boating on nearby Table Rock Lake, Dad's fave fishin' hole for G-d-knows-what-reason.