Country musician and Bret Maverick actor Ed Bruce has passed away at the age of 81.
According to Bruce’s publicist, the country veteran born William Edwin Bruce died of natural causes in Clarksville, Tennessee on January 8. While Bruce was best known for his 1975 classic “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys,” he also wrote a number of hits for his contemporaries including Tommy Roe’s “Save Your Kisses” and Tanya Tucker’s 1974 single “The Man That Turned My Mama on.”
“Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” was swiftly recognized as a country classic by the likes of Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, who recorded their own version just three years after its release. In 1982, Bruce topped country charts with his other hit, “You’re the Best Break This Old Heart Ever Had.”
Bruce also spent part of his career as an actor in various commercials and television shows. He hosted a handful of US shows and starred opposite James Garner on Bret Maverick in the ’80s. He also co-wrote and performed the show’s theme song.
Various country artists have paid tribute to Bruce, including Tim McGraw, The Oak Ridge Boys and Trace Adkins. “What a stand alone voice he had,” Blake Shelton wrote. “He’ll be remembered for his many talents including acting and maybe most important his songwriting… Rest In Peace cowboy. Im not loving 2021 so far.”
RIP, Ed Bruce. Revisit his hits below: