5 Things You Didn't Know About Johnny Cash

On September 12, 2003, country musician Johnny Cash died at age 71. Despite Cash's omnipresence, there's still plenty of little-known facts to learn about the legendary performer. Here are 5 things you didn't know about "The Man in Black"...  

 
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Cash Helped Dig a Grave for His Brother At 12 years of age, Cash’s family experienced a tragedy when their son, Jack, was dragged into a table saw while working at a sawmill to help the family out financially. He lived for a week but never had any chance of surviving the injury. Johnny helped dig the grave for his older brother and drove a nail into his foot while doing so, which necessitated attending the funeral service barefooted.

Cash Became an Ordained Minister After his marriage to June Carter in 1968, Cash decided to study religion in the 1970s and rededicate his life to Christ. He became an ordained minister after obtaining a degree in theology. Although he did not build up a congregation or focus on guiding others by offering to officiate at church services, he was the minister at the wedding of one of his daughters.

 
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He Went to Jail Numerous Times Cash was busy getting arrested between 1959 and 1968 for things such as reckless driving, picking flowers, drug possession and being drunk in public. One of those arrests was for picking flowers in somebody’s yard while he was inebriated in Starkville, Mississippi. He apparently wasn’t sorry for his misdeeds because he yelled and kicked the door of his cell so hard that he broke his toe.

The Government Sued Him for Starting a Fire Cash was driving his truck that he had named after the Old West outlaw Jesse James when one of the wheel bearings overheated and started a huge forest fire in Los Padres National Forest. Having 508 acres burn down because of your truck was bad enough, but the forest that burned happened to be home to 53 California condors. Forty-nine of the endangered birds died in the blaze, and Cash had to pay $82,001 to the federal government for the damage.

He Was a Writer in Addition to Being a Singer Always with an eye toward entertaining others, Cash showed early promise by writing a piece that was published in the military newspaper Stars and Stripes while he was serving in the Air Force. He wrote several autobiographies over the years, “Man in Black” in 1975 and “Cash: The Autobiography” in 1997. Moving away from books about himself, in 1986, his book, “Man in White,” was published, which was a fictional story about the apostle Paul.