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Minnie Pearl


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You’d know her right of f the bat—the silly dress, the Mary Jane shoes, and that straw hat with the $1.98 price tag still dangling from the brim. And then the “Howdee!” Sure enough, it was Minnie Pearl——plain-looking, unlucky in love, but ever sunny and smiling.

The jump from Sarah Ophelia Colley to Minnie Pearl was not really planned. She was born in Centerville, Tennessee in 1912. Her parents were well-to-do, cultured people, and they gave Sarah a good education. She attended Ward-Belmont College, studied drama, and had her sights set on Broadway, but found herself performing with a troupe that staged amateur shows throughout the South. In 1936, after a lodging mix-up in a little Alabama town, a family offered to put her up. The woman of the house became the model for Minnie Pearl. Sarah began to perfect the character, and after some influential people saw her perform at a banker’s convention, she was invited to appear on The Grand Ole Opry.

Few women were doing monologues on radio back then, and only Minnie Pearl was making a name for herself, telling stories about country life and her hometown.

America's Beloved Minnie Pearl, Starday Records, LP.
Howdy!, Sunset Records, LP.

Minnie Pearl
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