John Denver was an American musician, actor and environmental activist who was one of the most successful folk musicians of the 1970s. He died in a plane crash on Oct. 12, 1997, at the age of 53.
John Denver was born in Roswell, New Mexico on Dec. 31, 1943. As a teenager, Denver became interested in music, and dropped out of Texas Tech University in 1964 to pursue a career as a folk singer in New York City. From 1965 to 1968, he was a performer for the Chad Mitchell Trio before achieving success as a songwriter with "Leaving On a Jet Plane," performed by Peter, Paul and Mary.
In 1970 and 1971, Denver released "Take Me To Tomorrow" and "Aerie," both of which found commercial success. His good looks and wholesome image proved popular with audiences, and Denver soon released some of his most popular albums, such as "Rocky Mountain High" and "Back Home Again." Denver's popularity earned him a starring role in "Oh, God!" alongside George Burns. The film was a box-office success, and Denver would continue to act until his death, though usually in television appearances.
Denver was also well-known for his environmental activism. He funded the World Hunger Project in 1977 and became a chair member of the National UNICEF Day in 1984. Denver died tragically in 1997, when his personal plane crashed into Monterey Bay due to a lack of fuel. Denver's death led to numerous tributes and memorials, and the state of Colorado declared "Rocky Mountain High" the state's official song in his honor. He was also the first inductee into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame.