DURHAM, N.C., Sept. 10 (UPI) -- Janis Martin, a singer billed as "the female Elvis" in the 1950s, has died of cancer in a hospital in Durham, N.C., at age 67.
Martin picked up the guitar at age four and started singing on country music radio shows in her native Virginia when she was still a child, The Washington Post said Monday.
She toured with country singers Hank Snow and Porter Waggoner, and recorded for RCA with Chet Atkins and Floyd Cramer -- all before her 16th birthday. She also appeared on "The Tonight Show" and "American Bandstand" and at the Grand Ole Opry.
But when Martin secretly married at 15 and became pregnant at 17, her record label dropped her and she returned to Virginia.
Martin divorced her husband, settled in Danville to raise her son, then married and divorced a second husband, Ken Parton.
She also worked in the Henry County sheriff's office, then spent 26 years as the manager of a Danville country club. For the last 29 years, she was married to Wayne Whitt.
Martin's son, Kevin Parton, who played drums in her bands, died in January.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by a granddaughter and great-granddaughter.