‘Queen of the House’ Star Jody Miller Dead at 80
Jody Miller, a Grammy-winning singer-songwriter who began her career in folk and pop music before successfully crossing over into country, has died, according to a statement from her publicity company. She was 80 years old.
Her cause of death was complications related to Parkinson's Disease.
Born Myrna Joy Miller on Nov. 29, 1941, the singer spent the first years of her life in California before moving to her grandparents' hometown of Blanchard, Okla., at the age of eight after her parents' divorce. From an early age, she was interested in music, and would sing harmonies with her siblings as a child, the Oklahoman reports.
Miller signed to Capitol Records as a folk artist in 1962, and her first single, "He Walks Like a Man," made it onto the Billboard Hot 100 chart. She also toured with the Beach Boys and worked on her studio music with artists such as Glen Campbell, who was a session player at the time.
The singer's big break came with the 1965 release of "Queen of the House," a song that crossed over from the pop to the country charts and earned her a trophy for Best Country & Western Performance — Female at the Grammy Awards ceremony in 1966, an awards show at which she was also nominated for Best New Country & Western Artist. From there, she continued to make waves on the country and pop charts with her genre-blending signature style. Singles like "Long Black Limousine," "Baby I'm Yours" and "He's So Fine" all enjoyed significant chart success.
While Miller took a step back from her recording career in the '80s so that her daughter, Robin, could go to school in Oklahoma, she never lost her passion for recording and releasing music. In 1987, she put out an album of patriotic songs that found a fan in the soon-to-be sitting U.S. President George H.W. Bush. She was subsequently invited to Bush's inauguration ceremony.
In the '90s, Miller became a born-again Christian and released a series of gospel albums, ultimately earning induction into the Country Gospel Music Association's Hall of Fame in 1999. After the death of her husband of 52 years, Monty Brooks, the singer continued to tour, performing her secular hits in addition to the gospel music that was her focus in the back half of her life. She formed a trio called Jody Miller and Three Generations, also including her daughter and grandchildren.
Miller died in her hometown of Blanchard, Okla., on the morning of Oct. 6. Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.