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SONGWRITER ROGER MILLER DIES OF CANCER

Published: Monday, Oct. 26 1992 12:00 a.m. MST

      Roger Miller, who topped the pop and country charts in the mid-'60s with a string of easy-does-it, finger-popping hits like "King of the Road," has died of cancer at 56.

      Miller, who also wrote the music for the Tony Award-winning Broadway show "Big River," died Sunday at Century City Hospital. He announced in January that he was undergoing radiation treatment for a tumor below his vocal cords.The singer-songwriter's bouncy tunes and witty lyrics brought him 11 Grammys in 1964 and 1965.

      "King of the Road," a cheerful account of the hobo's life, set to a finger-snapping beat, begins:

      "Trailers for sale or rent

      Rooms to let for 50 cents

      No phone, no pool, no pets

      Ain't got no cigarettes."

      Other hits from that period included "Dang Me," "Chug-a-Lug," "England Swings" and "Can't Rollerskate in a Buffalo Herd."

      In 1966, Miller had his own NBC variety show, "The Roger Miller Show."

      His career revived in 1985 with "Big River," his first effort at writing for the stage. Based on "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," the show won seven Tonys, including one for best score, and ran for 21/2 years.

      Miller briefly played the role of Pap in the Broadway production and in a national tour of the musical.

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