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David 'Stringbean' Akeman
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    (June 17, 1916-November 10, 1973)
    Born in Annville, Kentucky
    Country musician and comedian
    Played banjo
    Member of Bill Monroe's band (1943-45)
    Recorded the singles 'Chewing Gum' and 'I Wonder Where Wanda Went'
    Regular on 'the Grand Ole Opry' and 'Hee-Haw
    He got his first banjo by trading two chickens for it.
    He accentuated his lanky frame by wearing an extra long shirt tucked into a pair of pants that was belted around his knees.
    The first time he put the outfit together, he reportedly borrowed the pants from fellow Opry performer Little Jimmy Dickens.
    After becoming an Opry fixture, he would indulge in a new Cadillac every year, but never learned to drive.
    Because segments were pre-taped, he kept appearing on 'Hee-Haw' for months after his death.
    He built roads and planted trees with the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression.
    He was considered a virtuoso of old-style 'clawhammer' banjo picking.
    Returning home from a performance at the Grand Ole Opry, he and his wife Estelle were murdered by two burglars, who had been searching for cash he was rumored to have stashed in the house.
    Their bodies were found the next morning by Akeman's neighbor and fellow 'Hee-Haw' star Grandpa Jones.
    The killers, who made off with a chain saw and some guns but no cash, were caught and sentenced to 99 years in prison.
    Two decades after the murders, the residents of Akeman's old home found $20,000 -- which had rotted too badly to be usable -- behind a brick in the fireplace.

Credit: C. Fishel

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