Jim Hager of the Hager Twins Dies of Apparent Heart Attack

Jim Hager, who found national fame with twin brother Jon on Hee Haw, died Thursday afternoon (May 1) in Nashville of an apparent heart attack. He was 66. The Hager twins’ boyish, clean-cut good looks helped make them a favorite among Hee Haw viewers from the show’s first episode in 1969 until the duo left the TV series in 1988. Raised in a Chicago suburb, the Hagers were adopted by a minister and his wife. While in high school, the brothers regularly performed on a Saturday morning music show for teens on WGN-TV/Chicago. After serving in the Army, they moved to the Los Angeles area, where they played in clubs and eventually landed a job performing at the Disneyland theme park. Buck Owens attended one of their Disneyland shows and signed them to a management, recording and booking contract shortly thereafter. They spent several years opening shows for Owens, who also co-hosted Hee Haw. The Hagers signed to Capitol Records in 1969 and charted five country singles. Jim Hager reportedly visited his brother’s house Thursday afternoon to discuss plans for them to travel to Florida to visit their stepmother. After leaving his brother’s house, Jim Hager went to a coffeehouse in the 12th Avenue South shopping and restaurant district and collapsed in the parking lot. He was pronounced dead at Vanderbilt Medical Center.