Kenny Rogers was an American singer, songwriter, actor, record producer, and entrepreneur. He was elected to the country music hall of fame in 2013. Kenny Rogers sold over 100 million records worldwide during his lifetime making him one of the best selling music artists of all time. Rogers was particularly popular with country audiences but also chartered more than 120 hit singles across various music genres and topped the country and pop album charts for more than 200 individual weeks in the United States alone. Kenny Rogers died on March 20, 2020, from natural causes under hospice care at his home in Sandy Springs, Georgia.
Kenny Rogers Biography
Kenny Rogers was born the fourth of eight children. His parents were Lucille Lois (1910-1991) a nurse’s assistant and Edward Floyd Rogers (1904-1975) a carpenter. Rogers was of Irish and Native American ancestry. Rogers attended Wharton Elementary School, George Washington Junior High school, and graduated from Jefferson Davis High School presently Northside High School in 1956. In 1949 Rogers won a talent show at the Texan Theatre. He served as a busboy at the Rice Hotel and swept floors at a hat store for $9 a week. He later attended the University of Houston.
Kenny Rogers Age
Kenny Rogers was born on August 21, 1938. As of his death, he was 81 years old.
Kenny Rogers Career
Kenny Rogers was a prolific singer who played a major role in expanding the audience for country music in the 1970s and 80s. He began recording in the 1950s and he moved from teenage rock and roll through the psychedelic rock to become a country-pop crossover artist. While he began his recording career with the Houston-based groups the scholars, who first released “The Poor Little Doggie” he then began a solo career that included solo releases such as “That Crazy Feeling.” Duo recordings were also a prominent part of Mr. Rogers’ repertoire, accounting for more than a dozen country hits, including eight No. 1 records. Several of them including “Don’t Fall in love with a Dreamer,” a 1980 duet with the pop singer Kim Carnes and “we’ve got tonight” a remake of a Bob Seger hit performed with the Scottish singer Sheena Easton. His signature song, 1978’s “The Gambler” was a cross-over hit that won him a Grammy Award in 1980 and was selected in 2018 for preservation in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress. He developed the Gambler persona into a character for a successful series of television films starting with 1980’s Emmy-nominated Kenny Rogers as the Gambler.
Rogers’ albums The Gambler and Kenny featured in a poll conducted “the 200 Most Influential Country Albums Ever.” He was also voted the “favorite singer of all time” in a 1986 joint poll by readers of both USA Today and People. He received numerous awards such as the AMAs, Grammys, ACMs, and CMAs, as well as a lifetime achievement award for a career spanning six decades in 2003. He had 21 No 1 country hits, including two “lady” written and produced by Lionel Richie, and “Islands in the Stream” composed by the Bee Gee’s and performed with Dolly Parton which reached No 1 on the pop chart as well. By the time he stopped performing, Rogers had placed more than 50 singles in the country Top 40, of which 20 also appeared in the pop Top 40. Long before the ascendancy of Garth Brooks and Shania Twain in the 1990s, he was among the first country artists to sell out arenas.
Rogers also had success in acting as he took up acting roles in movies and television shows including the title roles in Kenny Rogers as the Gambler and the MacShayne series for The NBC Mystery Movie, and the 1982 feature film Six Pack. He was the co-founder of the restaurant chain Kenny Rogers Roasters in Collaboration with former Kentucky Fried Chicken CEO John Y. Brown Jr. Although the stores closed in the United States they are still a fixture in Asia.
Kenny Rogers Wife
Mr. Rogers was married five times. He is survived by his wife of 22 years Wanda Miller, and the Couple’s twin sons, Justin and Jordan as well as a daughter, Carole Billingsley, from his first marriage to Janice Gordon in May 1958 and later divorced in April 1960. Two other sons, Kenny Jr. from his third marriage to Margo Anderson in October 1964 and divorced in 1976, and Christopher from his fourth marriage to Marianne Gordon on October 1, 1977, and divorced in 1993. He is also survived by two brothers Roy and Randy; a sister Sandy Rogers and a number of grandchildren. Kenny Rogers also married a second wife Jean in October 1960 and divorced in 1963.
Kenny Rogers Death
Kenny Rogers’ death was announced by his publicist Keith Hagan. Mr. Hagan did not specify the cause but said Rogers had been in hospice care. Mr. Rogers retired from performing in 2018 for health reasons. Rogers died from natural causes at his home in Sandy Springs, Georgia.
People took to twitter to honor Kenny Rogers and one among them was long time friend Dolly Parton and collaborator who said on Saturday writing, “You never know how much you love somebody until they’re gone. I’ve had so many wonderful years and wonderful times with my friend Kenny, but above all the music and the success I loved him as a wonderful man and a true friend.”
You never know how much you love somebody until they’re gone. I’ve had so many wonderful years and wonderful times with my friend Kenny, but above all the music and the success I loved him as a wonderful man and a true friend. pic.twitter.com/hIQLIvt8pr
— Dolly Parton (@DollyParton) March 21, 2020
R&B singer Tevin Campbell paid homage to Rogers by tweeting out lyrics to “She Believes in Me,” adding the #RIPLegend hashtag.
And she believes in me
I’ll never know just what she sees in me
I told her someday if she was my girl
I could change the world with my little songs, I was wrong. #RIPLegend
— Tevin Campbell (@tevincampbelll) March 21, 2020
Other Twitter and Social media users also honored Rogers as well.