Carolina Cotton (born Helen Hagstrom October 20, 1925 in Cash, Arkansas; died June 10, 1997 in Bakersfield, California) was an American singer and actress known as the "Yodeling Blonde Bombshell", the "Girl of the Golden West" and the "Queen of the Range".
At the age of 16 she was a high school student who would visit a radio station to watch the Dude Martin’s Roundup Gang. When the band yodler left to get married Martin Dude Martin asked her whether she could yodel she replied "Sure I can! Why not?" though she had never before yodeled. Dude gave her her nickname “Carolina” because he reckoned that Arkansas was not so well recognized in California The surname “Cotton” came later thanks to fans and a radio disc jockey named Cottonseed Clark.
In 1944, Hagstrom she travelled to Hollywood to pick up costumes where she bumped into songwriter Johnny Marvin. He offered her a part in a film called Sing, Neighbor Sing that led to a further appearance in I'm from Arkansas. She was then asked to join the Spade Cooley Orchestra. In addition to appearing in musicals she made a variety of Westerns where she learned how to ride a horse. She made a variety of television appearances with a planned series Queen of the Range never coming to be. She stated she only left making films when they no longer made B Westerns.
Carolina hosted a program called Carolina Calls twice a week on the Armed Forces Radio Services in the late 1940s and early 1950s and made tours of Germany and Korea.
Inspired by meeting many children around the world during her travels, Hagstrom decided to become a teacher.but still performed, especially at western film festivals. She retired from Mount Vernon Elementary School in Bakersfield, California, in 1997, and died on June 10, 1997, after battling ovarian cancer for three years.
- The Encyclopedia of Country Music Oxford University Press, 04/01/2012
- Goggin, Jim The Dude Martin Band Story Trafford Publishing, 2005
- p.57 Cline, William C. Serials-ly Speaking: Essays on Cliffhangers McFarland, 1994
- p.64 Larkin, Colin The Virgin Encyclopedia of Country Music Virgin, 1998
- p. 17 McNutt, Randy King Records of Cincinnati, Arcadia Publishing, 27/05/2009
- Carolina Cotton at the Internet Movie Database
- Encyclopedia of Arkansas entry http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=4760
- Official fan site http://www.carolinacotton.org/
- Rockabilly Hall of Fame http://www.rockabillyhall.com/CarolinaCotton.html
- Carolina Cotton at Find a Grave