Guy Hovis is best known for his appearances on The Lawrence Welk Show as half of the singing duo Guy and Ralna. He was born in Tupelo on 24 September 1941 to Guy Hovis Sr., an original member of the Mississippi Highway Patrol, and Frances Hovis. As a child, Guy developed a strong interest in music through singing at the Harrisburg Baptist Church, participating in a gospel quartet and singing regularly at weddings and civic clubs. Hovis’s musical interests followed him to the University of Mississippi, where he met Allen Pepper, Trent Lott, and Gaylen Roberts, with whom he formed a musical group, the Chancellors. After graduating in 1963 with a degree in accounting, Hovis spent two years in the US Army at Oklahoma’s Fort Sill. After returning to the University of Mississippi for a semester of graduate work, Hovis headed to Los Angeles in hopes of breaking into the entertainment industry.
Hovis made his first appearance on national television in 1967 on Art Linkletter’s House Party. He subsequently spent several years performing with singer David Blaylock as Guy and David. They toured the country, recorded an album, and appeared on popular television variety shows. Hovis began dating Ralna English, a performer from Texas who was part of the cast of The Lawrence Welk Show, and they married in 1969. English asked Welk to let Hovis perform, and Guy and Ralna sang a duet on the December 1969 Welk Christmas show. By the following February Hovis was a regular performer, and Guy and Ralna became the show’s most popular duet act.
Hovis appeared on The Lawrence Welk Show for twelve years, during which time he cultivated his music production skills. Hovis produced eight of the ten records that he made with Ralna. In 1974 their popular album, How Great Thou Art, was nominated for Dove Awards for Producer and Artist of the Year. Guy and Ralna’s popularity peaked in the late 1970s, and the last episode of The Lawrence Welk Show aired in 1982. The couple divorced two years later, temporarily ending the Guy and Ralna act.
From 1990 to 2007 Hovis served as director of Mississippi senator Trent Lott’s state office, and in 2005 Hovis performed at the second inauguration of Pres. George W. Bush. Hovis has also written and starred in two successful musical revues and performed around the country with the Welk Musical Family. Audiences continued to see Guy and Ralna performing on reruns of The Lawrence Welk Show, and they have reunited professionally, occasionally appearing together in concert. Hovis also continues to perform solo at revivals, private concerts, and other events and to do charitable work with such organizations as the American Cancer Society and Childhelp USA and with veterans’ organizations. He performed for Mississippi Rising, a televised benefit for Hurricane Katrina relief. Hovis and his wife, Sarah “Sis” Lundy, live in Jackson.
- Guy Hovis, e-mail interview by Sarah Taylor Condon (27 August 2007)
- Guy Hovis website, www.guyhovismusic.com
- The Lawrence Welk Show website, www.welkshow.com
- Oeta, the Oklahoma Network website, www.oeta.onenet.net