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Influential Music Video Director Sherman Halsey Dies

Sherman Halsey, Dwight Yoakam

Sherman Halsey, a music video director and producer most closely associated with Tim McGraw, has died. The man behind the first country music video to gain airplay on MTV was found deceased in his home on Tuesday (Oct. 29). The 56-year-old’s cause of death has not yet been determined, but foul play is not suspected.

Halsey was behind more than two dozen of McGraw’s music videos, including the ACM Award-winning ‘It’s Your Love’ and CMT Music Award-winning ‘Live Like You Were Dying.’ He directed ‘Indian Outlaw’ in 1993 and every video McGraw would release for five years. Later, he was behind ‘She’s My Kind of Rain,’ ”Last Dollar (Fly Away),’ ‘Southern Voice’ and (most recently) ‘One of Those Nights.’

Additionally, Halsey worked with Travis Tritt, Brooks and Dunn, Alan Jackson, the Oak Ridge Boys, Dwight Yoakam and many others. Yoakam’s ‘Honky Tonk Man’ was the first country music video to air on MTV. The Oak Ridge Boys considered him a little brother, as Halsey grew up around the band. His father, Jim Halsey, was a longtime representative of the legendary group.

According to his website’s biography, Halsey’s career in the music business began at age 13. He studied film at the University of Kansas and later landed a job with Dick Clark Productions. He was an early advocate of music videos. “He produced our first video, for a song called ‘Easy,’” Duane Allen of the ORB tells Music Row. “In fact, he was so far ahead of the market at that time there were no video shows on American television, so we broke the song in Australia.”

After working for his father’s company for over a decade, he discovered and managed Yoakam, using the newly-emerging video market as a marketing focus. Yoakam took a moment to remember his friend on Twitter on Wednesday, saying, “In fond memory of Sherman Halsey. He was a gentleman and a friend… Dwight.” A photo showing the two at work on one of Yoakam’s videos is included.

Ronnie Dunn also took time to remember Halsey on Wednesday. “Lost a friend last night,” he remarked on Facebook. “Sherman Halsey. Sweet spirit and a consummate gentleman. He directed the ‘Hard Workin’ Man’ video…..left us too early.”

No funeral arrangements have been announced. According to Tulsa World, Halsey was found after family in Oklahoma requested an acquaintance check on him. They hadn’t heard from him in awhile.

Next: See All Country Stars Who've Died in 2013

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