Gospel-country singer Stuart Hamblen, who wrote inspirational songs and once ran for President as a Prohibition Party candidate after swearing off booze and horse racing, died today at 80.
Hamblen, who lapsed into a coma after surgery Feb. 28 to remove a malignant brain tumor, died at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica. He also had been suffering from inoperable lung cancer, a hospital spokesman said.
Hamblen was host of “The Cowboy Church” radio show in Los Angeles, which is still heard in reruns around the country.
He was best known for his 1950s spiritual tunes, “It Is No Secret What God Can Do” and “This Old House.” He also recorded “Open Up Your Heart (and Let the Sun Shine In)” “Remember Me, I’m the One Who Loves You” and “Texas Plains.”
The former hard drinker and hillbilly singer led a colorful life that started out in Kellysville, Tex., where his father was a Methodist preacher.
He loved horse racing and owned one of the leading race horse stables in the West, and admitted he was an alcoholic who once ran up a $250 bar tab in Hollywood in the 1950s.
His life changed one night when he visited a tent revival conducted by evangelist Billy Graham. His conversion was immediate and Hamblen gave up drinking and race horses.
In the 1930s he ran as a Democratic candidate for Congress from the old California 11th District and in 1952 he became the Prohibition Party’s nominee for President in an election won by Dwight D. Eisenhower.
In recent years, the retired Hamblen and his wife of 51 years, Suzy, raised rare Peruvian Paso horses at their ranch in Canyon Country.
He is survived by his wife and three daughters.