Minnie Pearl, 50th Anniversary as Opry member in 1990
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 House Backstage Pass Tours: Beginning today, guests on Grand Ole Opry House Backstage Tours will celebrate Minnie’s 100th birthday with additions including a Minnie stand-up photo op in the “Now That’s Funny” dressing room celebrating comedians at the Opry and video clips of some of her funniest comedic moments.
Opry Performances: Beginning next month, Opry performances will be preceded by the Opry’s Minnie Pearl character being available for photos with show guests plus a variety of Minnie-related games in the auditorium before the show.
Opry House Photo Gallery: Photos depicting the life of Sarah Colley Cannon and Minnie Pearl will be on display in the lobby of the Grand Ole Opry House beginning Thurs., July 12.
The Opry Backstage Grill: The Grand Ole Opry-branded restaurant is preparing a strawberry shortcake birthday dessert with a look reminiscent of Minnie’s famous flowered hat.
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.”
For more information, visit the Opry website.