Anthony King Orbison is the son of American singer-songwriter, Roy Orbison. At six, Anthony and his older brother Roy DeWayne were killed in a family house fire in Hendersonville, Tennessee. Two years before his sons’ deaths, Roy Orbison suffered his first tragedy in June 1966 when his wife Claudette Frady died in a Motorcycle accident.
Orbison was famous for his operatic voice and the dark sunglasses he wore on stage. Critics have described Roy’s music as operatic, and he has earned the nicknames “The Big O” and “The Caruso of Rock.” So, what caused the fire that ended Anthony King Orbison’s short life? Read on to discover a more detailed account.
Anthony King Orbison’s Bio
Anthony King Orbison was born on 29 June 1962 to Claudette Frady and Roy Orbison. Anthony’s mother died in 1966, leaving him and his two siblings under their father’s care.
On 14 September 1968, when his father was out performing in Birmingham, tragedy struck. Anthony and his brother were in their home in Hendersonville, Tennesse, when the house burned down, killing them. Official reports stated the possible cause of the fire as an aerosol can which might have contained lacquer, a wood coating.
Their brother Wesley was rescued by Orbison’s parents, who raised him.
Anthony King Orbison’s Parents
Anthony’s father married twice in his life. He met his first wife, Claudette, in 1955 and married her in 1957. They welcomed three sons together, Anthony, Wesley, and Roy Dewayne. Roy Orbison’s Claudette and his famous hit Pretty Woman were about Claudette.
In 1964, Orbison divorced Claudette after she cheated, but they patched things up ten months later and remarried in 1965. Unfortunately, Claudette died in a motorcycle accident on 6 June 1966. The couple had been driving home from Bristol, Tennessee, when she hit a pickup truck’s door after it pulled out in front of her. She died on the spot.
Orbison remarried in March 1969 to German teenager Barbara Jakobs whom he had met a few weeks before his sons’ deaths. They had two sons: Roy Kelton, born in 1970, and Alexander, born in 1975. Alexander is a drummer, director, writer, film producer, and president of Still Working Music Group.
By the ’70s, none of Orbison’s albums was doing well, and his fortunes sank too low that he doubted his talent. He moved from MGM Records and signed a one-album deal with Mercury Records in 1973. Although he went missing from the scenes, Orbison already influenced several artists who released popular covers of his songs. A compilation of his greatest hits in 1976 reached #1 in the UK and gave Orbison a chance to rise again by opening concerts for the Eagles.
Orbison’s musical career peaked in the 1980s, and his songs were even used in television films.
On 4 December 1988, Orbison performed at the Front Row Theatre in Highland Heights, Ohio. He returned to his home in Hendersonville to rest before flying to London to film. He died 6 December of a heart attack at his mother’s house.
The death of Anthony and his brother was tragic and only added to their father’s tragic losses.