Valerie June Carter Cash (June 23, 1929 – May 15, 2003) was an American singer, songwriter, actress, dancer, comedian, and author who was a member of the Carter Family and the second wife of singer Johnny Cash. Prior to her marriage to Cash, she was professionally known as June Carter and occasionally was still credited as such after her marriage (as well as on songwriting credits antedating it).
She played the guitar, banjo, harmonica, and autoharp, and acted in several films and television shows. Carter Cash won five Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Christian Music Hall of Fame in 2009. She was ranked number 31 in CMT’s 40 Greatest Women in Country Music in 2003.
Carter and her future husband, Johnny Cash, reached number 2 on the U.S. Country charts with their 1967 duet of “Jackson”. Their performance won the 1968 Grammy Award for Best Country & Western Performance Duet, Trio or Group. The two, married at the time, won the 1971 Grammy Award, for Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group, for their 1970 duet “If I Were a Carpenter”.
Carter Cash won the 2000 Grammy Award, for Best Traditional Folk Album, for her 1999 album Press On. The album was a top-15 success on the Americana chart. Carter Cash’s last album, Wildwood Flower, was released posthumously in 2003. Carter Cash won the 2004 Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album, and she also won the 2004 Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for the single “Keep on the Sunny Side”
June Carter was played by Reese Witherspoon in Walk the Line, a 2005 biographical film of Johnny Cash (played by Joaquin Phoenix). The film largely focused on the development of their relationship over the course of 13 years, from their first meeting to her final acceptance of his proposal of marriage. Witherspoon performed all vocals for the role, singing many of June’s famous songs, including “Juke Box Blues” and “Jackson” with Phoenix.Witherspoon won an Academy Award, Golden Globe, BAFTA and Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actress in the role.
Musician and actress Jewel portrayed June Carter Cash in a Lifetime television movie called Ring of Fire, which aired on May 27, 2013. The film is based on John Carter Cash’s memoir Anchored in Love: An Intimate Portrait of June Carter Cash.
June died in Nashville, Tennessee, on May 15, 2003, at 73 years old, of complications following heart-valve replacement surgery, in the company of her family and her husband of 35 years, Johnny Cash.At Carter’s funeral, her stepdaughter, Rosanne Cash, stated, “if being a wife were a corporation, June would have been a CEO. It was her most treasured role.” Johnny died four months after June’s death, and her daughter, Rosie Nix Adams, a month after that. Johnny and June (along with Rosie) are buried in Hendersonville Memory Gardens near their home in Hendersonville, Tennessee.