[youtube]J3C9ygie2lQ[/youtube] MIAMI (AP) — Country singer Slim Whitman, the high-pitched yodeler who sold millions of records through ever-present TV ads in the 1980s and 1990s and whose song saved the world in the film comedy "Mars Attacks!," died Wednesday at a Florida hospital. He was 90. Whitman died of heart failure at Orange Park Medical Center, his son-in-law Roy Beagle said. Whitman's tenor falsetto and ebony mustache and sideburns became global trademarks — and an inspiration for countless jokes — thanks to the TV commercials that pitched his records. In 1952, Whitman had his first hit record, "Love Song of the Waterfall," which 25 years later became part of the soundtrack of the movie "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." Another Whitman hit from that year, "Indian Love Call," was used to humorous effect in the 1996 "Mars Attacks!" — his yodel causes the Martians' heads to explode. Born Ottis Dewey Whitman Jr. in Tampa on Jan. 23, 1923, he worked as a young man in a meatpacking plant, at a shipyard and as a postman. He was able to get on radio in Tampa and signed with RCA Records in 1949 with the help of Col. Tom Parker, who later became Presley's longtime manager. RCA gave Whitman the show business name Slim — he was a slender 6-foot-1 — to replace his uninspiring birth name. He crossed paths with Presley in July 1954 when he starred at a concert in a Memphis park just as Presley — mistakenly billed as "Ellis Presley" in one ad for the show — was launching his career. According to Peter Guralnick's book "Last Train to Memphis," Presley's brief, energetic turn on stage caused a wild reaction from the crowd. When Whitman came on for his performance, he told the audience: "You know, I can understand your reaction, 'cause I was standing backstage and I was enjoying it just as much as you." With Whitman's early hits, he became a star on the "Louisiana Hayride" radio show. His version of "Rose Marie," the title song from the venerable operetta that spawned "Indian Love Call," became a huge hit in England in 1955, staying at No. 1 on the charts for 11 weeks. Whitman's other hits included "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You," ''Red River Valley," ''Danny Boy" and "I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen."