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Minnie Pearl
Original name: Sara Ophelia Colley Cannon
Birth: Oct. 25, 1912
Centerville (Hickman County)
Hickman County
Tennessee, USA
Death: Mar. 4, 1996
Nashville
Davidson County
Tennessee, USA

Country Music Commedienne/Icon. Born in Centerville, Tennessee, Sarah Colley's parents had debutante balls and college in mind for their daughter, who'd been stage-struck with a love for vaudeville and drama since an early age. While she was indeed a college graduate, that didn't stop her from sneaking into tent shows, which was against her parents wishes. While producing an amateur musical comedy in Baileyton, Alabama. around 1936, she met a young mountain woman from whom she based her famed and beloved character, Miss. Minnie Pearl, on. Her first performance onstage as Minnie Pearl was in 1939 in Aiken, South Carolina, but it was her introduction to the audience of the world famous Grand Ole Opry in 1940 at age 28 that catapulted her to stardom through live performances, radio and eventually television. For over 50 years, she entertained the music world with Minnie's tales of her fictional hometown, Grinders Switch, Tennessee, stepping onstage proclaiming "Howdeee! I'm just so proud to be here" in her straw hat adorned with flowers and a $1.98 price tag. In reality, she was known as a gracious lady of refinement, hospitality and down to earth charm, living down the street from the Tennessee Governors Mansion and known as a competitive tennis player at the local country club. Married to Henry Cannon for over 50 years, she went on to continue her performances on the Opry, her home base, but also entertained throughout the world for charitable causes and won numerous awards for her numerous contributions to humanity. In 1975, she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. In the early 1990s a series of strokes forced her to retire from the stage, but the industry and its fans did not forget their beloved Minnie Pearl. A breast cancer survivor and spokeswoman since 1985, her cancer later returned, claiming her life on March 4, 1996, at her Nashville Home. A museum erected outside of the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tennessee, tells the story of one of America's most beloved and remembered entertainers. (bio by: MJV) 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Thomas Kelley Colley (1857 - 1937)
  Frances Tate House Colley (1875 - 1963)
 
 Spouse:
  Henry Rolffs Cannon (1917 - 1997)
 
 Siblings:
  Frances Tate Colley McDaniel (1898 - 1986)*
  Virginia Shackelford Colley Burns (1900 - 1995)*
  Mary Wood Colley Kershaw (1903 - 1998)*
  Dixie Elizabeth Colley Shouse (1905 - 1967)*
  Minnie Pearl (1912 - 1996)
 
*Calculated relationship

Cause of death: Cancer
 
Burial:
Mount Hope Cemetery
Franklin
Williamson County
Tennessee, USA
GPS (lat/lon): 35.93018, -86.87835
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Feb 08, 1999
Find A Grave Memorial# 4498
Minnie Pearl
Added by: katzizkidz
 
Minnie Pearl
Added by: death2ur
 
Minnie Pearl
Added by: Patrick R
 
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Thanks for all the laughs. Never got to meet you, but I sure enjoyed watching you on TV.
- Ruby
 Added: Aug. 27, 2014

- Lone Wolf
 Added: Aug. 20, 2014
I saw you at the Old Threshers Reunion in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. I remember it like it was yesterday.
-Anonymous
 Added: Aug. 15, 2014
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Current ranking for this person: (4.7 after 487 votes)
 

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