Emerging into the public's consciousness in 1958, country & western performer Johnny Cash hit his first popularity peak in the mid-'60s with his hard-driving prison, train, and "underdog" ballads. Changing tastes, coupled with his own volatile temperament, resulted in as many lows as highs in the late 20th century, but Cash is a survivor, and was still very much on hand for the country & western upsurge of the late '80s. His first film appearances were in shapeless semi-concert pictures like Hootenanny Hoot (1963), but he went on to excel as a naturalistic actor in such Westerns as A Gunfight (1971) and The Last Days of Frank and Jesse James (1986). Johnny Cash is shown to best cinematic advantage as "himself" in the 1970 documentary Johnny Cash: The Man, His World, His Music, which features Cash's wife, June Carter. Cash was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from Lincoln Center in 1997.
Still hugely popular as the millennuim turned, the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards found Cash's video for the song "Hurt" nominated for no less than six awards. The reflective video ultimately took home the prize for Best Cinematography, cementing Cash's status as an artist whose musical stylings truly knew no boundries. Shortly thereafter, in early September of 2003, Johnny Cash died of complications of diabetes in Nashville, TN. at the age of 71. His death came just four short months after that of his longtime wife June Carter Cash.