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Reba McEntire likes to stay busy.
The redheaded Oklahoman has parlayed her country music success into multi-media stardom. She has sold nearly 50 million records, authored two books, played the lead in a Broadway musical, and starred in her own TV series. She’s also recently launched her own clothing line. During that whole time, the former rodeo girl has rarely fallen off the country charts.
The third of four children born to a schoolteacher and an Oklahoma rancher, Reba grew up in a family of achievers. Her father and grandfather were world-champion steer ropers, and Reba traveled the rodeo quarter-horse, barrel-racing circuit. When she sang the national anthem at the 1975 National Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City, singer Red Steagall heard her and advised her to go to Nashville and make a demo.
Reba’s first single hit the country charts in 1976, and she’s returned more than 80 times since then. She’s hit the top of the charts more than 20 times, from 1983’s “Can’t Even Get the Blues” to 2004’s “Somebody.” She joined the Opry the same year she released two of her most popular singles, “Whoever’s in New England” and “Little Rock.” Other No. 1 hits include “For My Broken Heart,” “How Was I to Know,” and “The Heart Won’t Lie,” a duet with fellow Opry member Vince Gill.
Reba has earned more gold and platinum awards than any female performer in any field of music. The Recording Industry Association of America has certified 23 of her albums gold or better. Nine of those albums have gone platinum, with her Greatest Hits and Greatest Hits Vol. II collections selling more than 4 and 5 million copies, respectively.
Reba’s acting career has ranged from her role as a gun-toting survivalist in the campy 1990 science-fiction flick Tremors to that of Annie Oakley in the Broadway production of Annie Get Your Gun. She has starred in three TV movies, including one based on her 1992 hit “Is There Life Out There?” And TV viewers can catch her every Friday night in the title role of the sitcom Reba on the WB network.
Reba is admired for her business acumen as much as her craft. Starstruck Entertainment, which she started with her husband/manager Narvel Blackstock, encompasses booking, management, music publishing, transportation, and recording services. Her long-lasting, wide-ranging success makes many other female country superstars—Martina McBride, Faith Hill, Sara Evans, and Trisha Yearwood among them—cite Reba as a major influence and role model.