Not to be confused with the late country icon of the same name, Rodgers was known for his hits “Honeycomb” and “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine” among others in the 1950s and 60s.
Rodgers’ publicist — citing family — announced on Saturday that the singer had died on Monday, Jan. 18, from kidney disease in Palm Desert, Calif. The musician had also tested positive for coronavirus.
When stationed in Nashville after the Korean War, Rodgers used to perform around town for $ 10 per night. He was signed to Roulette Records after winning a talent contest that secured him an audition for the label.
In 1964, he starred in “Back Door to Tell” alongside a young Jack Nicholson.
in 1967, Rodgers blamed an off-duty police officer for injuries to his head after he was found in his car on a Los Angeles freeway suffering from a fractured skull and other injuries.
He said he’d pulled his car over after a driver behind him was flashing their lights.
“I rolled the window down to ask what was the matter,” he told The Toronto Star in 1987. “That’s the last thing I remember.”
Los Angeles police, however, said that Rodgers had injured himself by falling while drunk. He filed a lawsuit and settled on a $ 200,000 award.
He eventually developed a condition that caused spasms in the muscles of his voice box and had seizures occasionally, which he blamed on the alleged attack.
He is survived by his wife Mary Louise Biggerstaff, and five children from three marriages.
The Associated Press contributed to this report