Hee Haw Co-Creator Frank Peppiatt Dies at Age 85

Hee Haw co-creator Frank Peppiatt died Wednesday (Nov. 7) in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., after battling bladder cancer. He was 85. He and writing and producing partner John Aylesworth became two of TV’s most successful producers during the ’60s and ’70s on the rock music show Hullabaloo and variety programs starring Jackie Gleason, Frank Sinatra, Andy Williams, Perry Como, Judy Garland, Julie Andrews and others. Their greatest success came with Hee Haw, a music and comedy show that premiered on CBS in 1969 as a summer replacement for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. Co-hosted by Buck Owens and Roy Clark, Hee Haw immediately topped the national ratings and became the longest-running and most popular weekly country music TV series in history. Spotlighting major country stars, the show’s cast also featured Minnie Pearl, Grandpa Jones, Junior Samples, Archie Campbell and Roni Stoneman, among others. Peppiatt wrote When Variety Was King: Memoir of a TV Pioneer Featuring Jackie Gleason, Sonny and Cher, Hee Haw and More scheduled to be published in April 2013.