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Robbins was born in Glendale, a suburb of Phoenix, in Maricopa County, Arizona. He was reared in a difficult family situation. His father took odd jobs to support the family of ten children. His father’s drinking led to divorce in 1937. Among his warmer memories of his childhood, Robbins recalled having listened to stories of the American West told by his maternal grandfather, Texas Bob Heckle. Robbins left the troubled home at the age of 17 to serve in the United States Navy as an LCT coxswain during World War II. He was stationed in the Solomon Islands in the Pacific. To pass the time during the war, he learned to play the guitar, started writing songs, and came to love Hawaiian music. After his discharge from the military in 1945, he began to play at local venues in Phoenix, then moved on to host his own show on KTYL. He thereafter had his own television show on KPHO-TV in Phoenix. After Little Jimmy Dickens made a guest appearance on Robbins’ TV show, Dickens got Robbins a record deal with Columbia Records. Robbins became known for his appearances at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee. On September 27, 1948, Robbins married Marizona Baldwin (September 11, 1930 — July 10, 2001) to whom he dedicated his song “My Woman, My Woman, My Wife”. They had two children, a son Ronny (born 1949) and daughter Janet (born 1959), who also followed a singing career in Los Angeles, California. Robbins later portrayed a musician in the 1982 Clint Eastwood film Honkytonk Man

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