Trailblazing gay country star dies at 78
Published: Friday, April 5, 2014 at 5:22 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, April 5, 2014 at 5:22 p.m.
A gay country singer’s unexpected death has saddened country fans and fans of the entertainment industry.
Lorrie Morgan, a singer who also sang with the country trio The Box Tops, died Friday of lung and liver cancer in her sleep in Nashville.
Morgan, 78, had been diagnosed with lung and liver cancer that was not initially considered inoperable. In October 2012, she had a brief heart scare and underwent a double bypass.
Born in South Carolina, Morgan began singing country music at age 10 and, after moving to Indiana, she formed a group with other girls she met at the University of Southern Indiana that played pop music.
Her parents were both musicians. Her father played the guitar while her mother, a music professor, coached young Lorrie in piano, organ and vocals.
“She was a lovely lady who was happy, and very much a lady through all the years of her life,” said her daughter, Laura, who lives in Colorado Springs.
While she was an adult, Morgan had performed at weddings.
Morgan performed on “The Price is Right” in 1977, and her first self-written song, “Love Is Forever,” was published in 1978. As an adult, she became part of The Box Tops, formed with two former The Box Tops, Ronnie Milsap and Bill Payne.
Morgan played backup for Elvis Costello and others, and was a founding member of the country trio, Wild and Free, before they split.
She released her first album, “Tenderly Lovestruck,” in 1986, and her second, “Dancing in the Moonlight,” in 1992.
Morgan was known as a songwriter, penning more than 35 songs, including the hit “Come Up and Stay with Me” as well as pop hits, including “I’m Lonely.” She also recorded a duet with her boyfriend, country music artist Don Williams, called “The Only Real Love of My Life,” which was released in 1998.
“You were so kind and caring, and in an unusual way, like a mother to me,”