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Fred Hellerman, 89, Last Member Of The Weavers, Dies At Weston Home

Fred Hellerman, who was the last remaining member of the famous folk-singing group The Weavers, died Thursday at his Weston home.
Fred Hellerman, who was the last remaining member of the famous folk-singing group The Weavers, died Thursday at his Weston home. Photo Credit: YouTube

WESTON, Conn. — Fred Hellerman, a folk singer and last remaining member of The Weavers, died Thursday at his longtime Weston home, according to the Connecticut Post.

Hellerman, who was also a guitarist, producer and songwriter, was 89.

He was an original member of The Weavers, the iconic folk-singing group he formed in 1948 with Pete Seeger, Lee Hays, and Ronnie Gilbert. Hellerman wrote and co-wrote many of their hits.

The Weavers and their hits such as “Goodnight Irene,” “On Top of Old Smokey” and “If I Had A Hammer” were hugely popular. But the group came under suspicion of Communist sympathies during the McCarthy era.

In 1950, Hellerman was named, along with the rest of the Weavers, in the anti-communist tract Red Channels and was placed on the industry blacklist.

The group broke up in 1952, but resumed singing from 1955 to 1963. Their reunion concerts in 1980, shortly before Hays' death, were documented in the film "The Weavers: Wasn't That A Time!"

Gilbert died in 2015 at age 88, Seeger in 2014 at 94, and Hays in 1981 at 67.

Hellerman was also famous for producing the album "Alice's Restaurant" (1967) for Arlo Guthrie, the son of his friend and sometime singing partner Woodie Guthrie.

He was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and educated at Brooklyn College.

He is survived by his wife, Susan Lardner, a former staff writer for The New Yorker and English teacher at Norwalk Community College; his sons Caleb and wife, Daphne Copeland, and Simeon; and three grandchildren, the Connecticut Post said.

His son, Caleb, told the Post there would be no funeral. A memorial service with music will take place in the coming months, the Post said.

Click here to read the story at the Connecticut Post.

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