Marty Robbins Died Today in 1982: Relive His Time on Screen with Clint Eastwood in ‘Honkytonk Man’

by Kayla Zadel
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Marty Robbins did a lot during his time on earth. From singing, songwriting, stock car racing, playing instruments, and even acting, Robbins’ resume was impressive. It also includes stepping in for legendary actor Clint Eastwood.

Perhaps Robbins’ most memorable role was in “Honkytonk Man” alongside Eastwood. Clint Eastwood produced, directed, and starred as Red Stovall in the classic. Robbins was cast as one of Stovall’s band members named Smoky. Eastwood’s son, Kyle, also stars in the film as Stovall’s nephew, Whit.

The storyline features Stovall’s dream of making it to the Grand Ole Opry in the Great Depression era. Stovall finally arrives in Nashville after a cross-country journey with his nephew and gets his chance to perform in front of Grand Ole Opry scouts.

However, Stovall can’t escape a coughing fit that’s brought on by his tuberculosis illness. This is where Robbins, the side guitarist, steps in for Eastwood.

His true talent shines while Smoky unintentionally steals the spotlight. Watch the scene below.

“Honkytonk Man” was released on December 15, 1982. Robbins passed away seven days earlier, making this his final appearance on the silver screen. He was 57 when he died on December 8, after suffering his third serious heart attack.

More About Marty Robbins

Robbins was one of the most popular and successful country-western singers for most of his nearly four-decade career that spanned from the late 1940s to the early 1980s. 

Over the course of his career, Robbins’ resume continued to grow. Classic Country Music cites that he recorded more than 500 songs and 60 albums and won two Grammy Awards. Furthermore, he was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and was named the 1960s Artist of the Decade by the Academy of Country Music.

Robbins was obsessed with El Paso, both the name and the town grown-up. So naturally, he sang a song titled “El Paso.” The lyrics paint a vivid picture of a love s story. Robbins went on to win a Grammy Award in 1959 for his signature song.

Not only did Robbins love the sound of music but he loved the roar of a stock car machine. His success in country music allowed him to fund his NASCAR team. Robbins had 6 top-ten finishes in his career, with a personal best top 5 finish at the 1974 Motor State 360 in Michigan.

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