People we love: Minnie Pearl

Minnie Pearl (Sarah Ophelia Colley Cannon), October 25, 1912 – March 4, 1996

Born on this Day in 1912.

Minnie Pearl charmed audiences with her country humor for more than 50 years at the Grand Ole Opry. She was a regular on Hee Haw from 1969 to 1991.

Her first work in theater was with the Wayne P. Sewell Production Company. She produced and directed plays and musicals throughout the southeastern United States. While in Baileyton, Alabama, she met the woman whose mannerisms and speech became the inspiration for “Cousin Minnie Pearl.” She first appeared at the Grand Ole Opry as Minnie Pearl on November 30, 1940.

After battling breast cancer, she became a spokeswoman for the Nashville medical center where shew as treated. A nonprofit group, the Minnie Pearl Cancer Foundation was founded in her memory.

Minnie Pearl suffered a stroke on 1991. This ended her career and she spent the remainder of her life in a Nashville nursing home. She died on March 4, 1996. She was 83.

I met Minnie Pearl in 1988 at what was then Opryland. She was gracious and charming.

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