A native of McAlester, Oklahoma, Reba McEntire is not only one of the best selling Country artists of all-time, the Reba brand has expanded to include television, clothing, shoes, and housewares. Considered by some to be the "Queen of Country," McEntire began her recording career in 1977 and after more than 50 Top 10 singles, was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2011.
Her mother, Jacqueline, introduced McEntire to Country music. McEntire's mother had her own aspirations to be a Country singer, but instead became a schoolteacher and taught her children to sing. Reba, her brother, and her sister formed a singing group and performed at local rodeos. Reba was going to follow in her mother's footsteps and become a schoolteacher until the singer Red Steagall heard her sing the national anthem at the National Rodeo Finals in Oklahoma City. Steagall signed her to her first recording contract with Mercury Records in 1975 and she released her self-titled debut album in 1977.
Seven members of McEntire's road band and her road manager were killed when their private charter jet crashed near San Diego on March 17, 1991. Devastated by the loss, McEntire dedicated her next album, For My Broken Heart, to her band. In an interview with CMT, McEntire said the album was "a tough one" to record and the songs reflect that she was not in a happy place. The title track made it to #1 on Billboard's country chart and also featured a remake of the 1973 Vicki Lawrence hit "The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia
McEntire tried her hand at Broadway in 2001, earning rave reviews for her portrayal of Annie Oakley in the revival of Annie Get Your Gun. That same year, McEntire debuted her sitcom, Reba, which originally aired on the WB network. The series was on the air until 2007 and it finished up its run on the CW network. Playing the wisecracking lead character – named Reba, of course - McEntire won the 2001 People's Choice Award for Favorite Female Performer in a New Television Series. She was also nominated for a Best Actress Golden Globe in 2006.
In 2011, McEntire launched her first new stage-show since the late 1990s with the All the Women That I Am tour. One single on the album, "If I Were A Boy," turned some heads since the song was made famous by R&B superstar Beyoncé. McEntire confessed that she was not familiar with the song until she recorded it in 2010 for CMT's Unplugged Sessions, but the song went viral online and sparked the idea for a whole new album. Before embarking on the tour, McEntire admitted that after 34 albums, to that point, it was hard to narrow down her set list but her most requested song was still "Fancy." McEntire covered the Bobby Gentry hit for the 1990 Rumor Has It album.
When Reba was in the first grade she made her singing debut with a solo of "Away In A Manger
" in a school Christmas play.
Her father and grandfather were both champion steer ropers. Reba's "grandpap," John Wesley McEntire, was a World Champion Steer Roper in 1934 and her father, Clark, won three times champion in 1957, 1958 and 1961.
Reba formed a vocal trio called the "Singing McEntires" with her older brother, Pake, and younger sister Susie, which performed at rodeos in the early 1970s
All three of the Singing McEntires pursued music careers. Reba we know about, Pake McEntire went on to become a successful country artist in the late 1980s and early 1990s and Susie Luchsinger, is a successful gospel singer.
McEntire released her debut single, "I Don't Want to Be a One Night Stand" on January 22, 1976, It failed to become a major hit on the Billboard country music chart, peaking at #88 in May of that year. It would be three years before she first reached the Top 10.
McEntire is the only country female solo act to have a #1 hit in four straight decades: the 1980s, '90s, '00s and '10s.
In 1996, McEntire was cast by director James Cameron as the 'unsinkable Molly Brown' in his film Titanic. However, when it became apparent production for the movie would extend well beyond its original length, she had to turn down the part, as the country star had already scheduled prior concert engagements. The role went to Kathy Bates instead.
In 1989, McEntire married her manager and former steel guitar player, Narvel Blackstock. The couple wed in a private ceremony on a boat in Lake Tahoe. The pair announced their separation in August 2015 after 26 years of marriage. They had one son, Shelby Blackstock, together.
Reba told AARP The Magazine how Narvel rose from playing pedal steel guitar in her band to becoming her personal manager: "Narvel became my manager because everybody kind of patted me on the head and said, 'You've done it. Good girl.' They assumed I had peaked. Narvel was like, 'Oh, no, no, no, no, no. Here's what we could do.'"
McEntire's stepson Brandon Blackstock is married to McEntire's friend and fellow singer Kelly Clarkson, who is also managed by Narvel.
McEntire made her film debut in 1990, appearing in the movie Tremors
. The country star played Heather Gummer, part of a survivalist couple helping to protect their small hometown from the deadly underground creatures that are trying to kill them off.