In Memoriam: Kenny Rogers (1938-2020)
The Gambler has gone home to his final reward.
Over the weekend the world was saddened to hear the news that singer, songwriter, and actor Kenny Rogers passed away at the age of eighty-one. Easily one of the most recognizable figures in country music, the Texas native enjoyed a career that spanned an incredible seven decades.
Born Kenneth Ray Rogers on August 21, 1938, Rogers was born the son of a nurse assistant and carpenter, the fourth of eight children. Rogers started out in the late fifties in the rock and roll genre but eventually transitioned into country music. He rose to superstardom in the 1970s and went on to record and produce multiple hit songs including “Lucille,” “Laura,” and the “The Gambler.” Aside from music, Rogers also enjoyed a decent acting career appearing mostly in television on shows like Dr. Quinn Medicene Woman and Touched By An Angel. Rogers appeared in two feature films, Six Pack and Longshot.
In addition to his music and acting, Kenny Rogers was also an entrepeneur, creating Kenny Rogers Roasters, a noted chicken establishment, famously parodied in an episode of Seinfeld. Rogers himself was often the object of parody, most notably Will Sasso’s imitation on Mad TV.
Rogers was married a total of five times and is survived by his wife of twenty-two years Wanda Miller along with five children.
While I’ve never been much of a country music fan I’ve always respected and admired Kenny Rogers talent. “Coward of the County” is one of my all-time favorite songs. Rogers was a true legend of the genre and his impact on the music world was just as important as David Bowie or Prince’s. He was a titan that will be sorely missed and never forgotten.
R.I.P. Kenny Rogers.