/Opry.com/ Nashville, TN -- The Grand Ole Opry is poised to celebrate the life and legacy of one of its most iconic members ever, Minnie Pearl, leading up to the 100th anniversary of the comedienne’s birth. Celebrations of the performer’s humor and more than 50-year Opry career begin this week and will culminate with an Opry show in her honor on Tues., Oct. 23.
Sarah Ophelia Colley was born in Centerville, TN on October 25, 1912 and became Mrs. Henry Cannon in 1947. She first appeared as the now-iconic Minnie Pearl in 1938. An executive from 650 AM-WSM saw her perform in 1940 and extended an invitation to her to appear on the Grand Ole Opry. Minnie went on to entertain generations of fans from the Opry stage as well as on television and stages around the world, joyfully shouting, “How-dee! I’m jes’ so proud to be here!” and regaling audiences with tales from the character’s fictional hometown, Grinder’s Switch, Tennessee. Though Cannon died in 1996, it was her wish that the character she had created would live forever. Thus, the plaque honoring Minnie Pearl at the Country Music Hall of Fame is inscribed with only a birth date and no death date listed.
“Minnie Pearl’s legacy is stronger at the Opry today than it’s ever been,” said Pete Fisher, Opry vice president and general manager. “We’re excited about celebrating the love and laughter the character Minnie Pearl embodies with our guests and with our partners at the Minnie Pearl Cancer Foundation. It’s going to be a fun celebration throughout the summer and leading up to Minnie’s 100th birthday in October.”
Other elements of the Opry Minnie Pearl celebration include:
Opry.com: Beginning today, the Opry’s official website will include a special “Hats Off To Minnie!” page with vintage photos and video of Minnie on the Opry, “Minnie Moments” from country stars, and more. The page also details how fans can share their own “Minnie Moments” with the Opry and the Minnie Pearl Cancer Foundation. “The spirit of Minnie Pearl is alive and well within The Minnie Pearl Cancer Foundation,” said Susan Hosbach, executive director of The Minnie Pearl Cancer Foundation. “We’ve been celebrating our 25th anniversary and Minnie’s 100th birthday all year long. ‘We are just so proud’ to partner with the Grand Ole Opry to give Minnie and her legacy a celebration worthy of an icon.”