Barbara Orbison, Roy's Widow, Dead at 60

Music publisher passed away on anniversary of husband's death

December 7, 2011 12:35 PM ET
Barbara Orbison attends the installation ceremonies for Roy Orbison who was honored posthumously with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Barbara Orbison attends the installation ceremonies for Roy Orbison who was honored posthumously with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Amy Sussman/WireImage

Barbara Orbison, Roy Orbison's widow, died yesterday of pancreatic cancer. She was 60. Her death came on the 23rd anniversary of her husband's death; singer Roy Orbison was 52 when he died of a sudden heart attack in 1988.

In addition to overseeing Orbison's catalog and several reissues of his music since his death, Barbara Orbison was the head of Still Working Music, a Nashville music publisher that was awarded BMI's Song of the Year in 2010 for Taylor Swift's "You Belong With Me."

In an interview earlier this year to mark the release of The Monument Singles Collection, a multi-disc package of the original mono mixes of Orbison's most successful period, Barbara Orbison said that her husband was a compulsive moviegoer and that his best quality was his power of observation. "He saw," she said. "In fact, his close friends would have told you he probably should have been a director."

German-born Barbara Wellhoener Jacobs first met Orbison in 1968; she was 17 and he was 32. It was two years after the tragic death of Orbison's first wife, Claudette, in a motorcycle accident. Barbara Orbison is survived by her sons Wesley, Roy Kelton, Jr. and Alexander and will be buried next to her husband at Westwood Village Memorial Park in Los Angeles.

Roy Orbison's Triumphs and Tragedies: Rolling Stone's Definitive 1988 Interview
Week in Rock History: Roy Orbison Dies

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