Hard working country singer, actress, and successful businesswoman Reba Nell McEntire (1955-) was born on this day. Calling herself "a big tomboy," she grew up on an 8,000-acre ranch in Chockie, Oklahoma and was "raised with horses and cattle." Her father was a champion calf roper.
"When I sing, it's going to be country. I'm a very country person. I'm very proud of my country roots. And I am a country singer," she said.
Her rise to fame was five years in the making: Discovered by cowboy singer Red Steagall in 1974, she signed with a Nashville music studio a year later, recorded her first song in 1976, and had her first number one record, Can't Even Get the Blues, in 1981.
Dazzling success followed with sold out concerts, best-selling records, and countless music awards. "Without God, I donít see how folks cope," said the redheaded "Queen of Country."
With music conquered, she looked to other career opportunities and continued to thrive. Calling herself a "natural actress," she tried films and gathered rave reviews for Broadway's Annie Get Your Gun (2001). The The New York Post called her "waif-like cute...whimsical....eager...and over-the-top funny."
Her television comedy, Reba (2001-2007), was equally successful. "It's so nice to be at the point in life where you don't feel such an urgency to constantly prove yourself," she said and still transforms her efforts into to gold: as a best-selling writer and designer of clothes, bath, and shoe lines.
"As a woman, you donít complain, you work twice as hard and you do your job," she said. "Thatís what I learned from working on the cattle range, and it helped me in the music business. Women are the backbone of family, of our country."