Loretta Lynn

The "First Lady of Country Music," Loretta Lynn's rise from a Kentucky cabin to the pinnacle of Nashville success was the quintessential American showbiz dream. Married at 13 and a mother of four by 18, Lynn taught ... Read more »
Born: 04/14/1932 in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky, USA

Filmography

Actor (86)

Austin City Limits 1974 - 2015 (TV Show)

Actor

Girls' Night Out: Superstar Women of Country 2010 - 2011 (TV Show)

Actor

Intimate Portrait: Loretta Lynn 2002 - 2003 (TV Show)

Actor

The 36th Annual CMA Awards 2002 - 2003 (TV Show)

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Evening at Pops 1969 - 2002 (TV Show)

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Grand Ole Opry Live 2001 - 2002 (TV Show)

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Popular Song: Soundtrack of the Century 2001 - 2002 (TV Show)

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Grand Ole Opry 75th -- A Celebration 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)

Actor

Loretta Lynn Live By Request 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)

Actor

Our Country 2001 (Movie)

(Actor)

Hello Darlin': A Tribute to Conway Twitty 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

Memories: Grand Ole Opry Stars of the Fifties 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

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Opry Backstage 1990 - 1999 (TV Show)

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Ralph Emery on the Record With Loretta 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

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TNN Music City News Country Awards 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

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America's Music: The Roots of Country 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

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Grand Ole Opry 70th Anniversary 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Actor

The Life & Times of Conway Twitty 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

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The Legends of Country Music 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

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Remembering Patsy Cline 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

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TNN Music City News Country Awards 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

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MDA Jerry Lewis Telethon 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

Roseanne 1993 (Tv Show)

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The Women of Country 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

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What Is This Thing Called Love? 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

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Loretta Lynn: The Seasons of My Life 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

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25th Annual Music City News Country Awards 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

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Fairs and Festivals: Fan Fair/Nashville 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

The True Value/GMC Truck Country Showdown 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

USO Celebrity Tour: Loretta Lynn Christmas 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

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Conway Twitty on the Mississippi 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

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Dinah Comes Home Again 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

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Fairs and Festivals: Erie County 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

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Night of 100 Stars III 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

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Night of Music 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

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Thanks, Troubadour, Thanks 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

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There Really Is a Santa Claus 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

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Loretta & Crystal: Going Home 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

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The Presidential Inaugural Gala 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

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A Star-Spangled Celebration 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

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Country Music Legends 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

Live From the Grand Ole Opry 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

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Of Thee We Sing 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

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The 60th Anniversary of the Grand Ole Opry 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Actor

The Best of Farm Aid: An American Event 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Actor

Bob Hope Special: Happy Birthday, Bob! 1982 - 1983 (TV Show)

Actor

Loretta Lynn in the Big Apple 1982 - 1983 (TV Show)

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Loretta Lynn: The Lady... The Legend 1981 - 1982 (TV Show)

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A Country Christmas 1980 - 1981 (TV Show)

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Country Comes Home 1980 - 1981 (TV Show)

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Country Comes Home 1980 - 1981 (TV Show)

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Fifty Years of Country Music 1980 - 1981 (TV Show)

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George Burns in Nashville? 1980 - 1981 (TV Show)

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A Country Christmas 1979 - 1980 (TV Show)

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Sinatra and Friends 1976 - 1977 (TV Show)

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Cos: The Bill Cosby Comedy Special 1975 - 1976 (TV Show)

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Country Music Hit Parade 1972 - 1973 (TV Show)

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Dean Martin Presents Music Country, U.S.A. 1972 - 1973 (TV Show)

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Country Galaxy of Stars (TV Show)

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Loretta (TV Show)

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Real Patsy Cline (TV Show)

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The Real Patsy Kline (TV Show)

Actor
Music (8)

High Crimes 2002 (Movie)

("The First Noel") (Song Performer)

You Can Count on Me 2000 (Movie)

("Somebody Somewhere (Don't Know What He's Missin')" "If You're Not Gone Too Long" "The Other Woman") (Song Performer)

USO Celebrity Tour: Loretta Lynn Christmas 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Song Performer

Impulse 1984 (Movie)

("Before the Next Teardrop Falls") (Song Performer)

Coal Miner's Daughter 1980 (Movie)

songs("I'm A Honky Tonk Girl" "You Ain't Woman Enough To Take My Man" "You're Lookin' At Country" "Coal Miner's Daughter") (Song)

Resurrection 1980 (Movie)

("Love From Seven to Ten") (Song Performer)

Drive-In 1976 (Movie)

("Lead Me On") (Song Performer)
Writer (1)

Coal Miner's Daughter 1980 (Movie)

("Coal Miner's Daughter") (Book as Source Material)

Biography

The "First Lady of Country Music," Loretta Lynn's rise from a Kentucky cabin to the pinnacle of Nashville success was the quintessential American showbiz dream. Married at 13 and a mother of four by 18, Lynn taught herself to play guitar and write songs. Thanks to her talent, her husband's persistence and a little luck, Lynn broke into the music industry with her self-penned "I'm A Honky Tonk Girl." She achieved her greatest successes writing and singing a string of feisty, feminist songs the likes of which had never been heard on country radio, including "You Ain't Woman Enough" (1966), "Don't Come Home A'Drinkin' (with Lovin' on Your Mind)" (1967) and "Fist City" (1968), singing for (and on behalf of) working-class women everywhere. Throughout the 1970s, she continued to top the charts, both alone and together with Conway Twitty in a series of successful duets, but it would be her autobiographical song "Coal Miner's Daughter" (1970) and the subsequent Oscar-winning movie (1980) that made Lynn a household name around the world. The winner of countless awards and accolades, Lynn created her most critically acclaimed work at age 70, the Jack White-produced LP Van Lear Rose (2004). Simultaneously representing a classic country influence as well as forward-thinking feminism, Lynn's impact on the genre and professional reputation were unmatched.

Born April 14, 1932 in Butcher Hollow, KY, Loretta Webb was literally born a coal miner's daughter, the second of eight children of Clara Marie and Melvin "Ted" Webb. Named after the movie star Loretta Young, she took the last name Lynn professionally after her marriage; her youngest sibling, Brenda Gail Webb, would later become the singer Crystal Gayle. The family eked out a hardscrabble living in the small mining community up in the mountains, although they shared a strong bond of love, religion and music. The young girl sang in churches and at a variety of local concerts, as well as with her family. Her life changed forever when she met 21-year-old Oliver Vanetta Lynn (aka "Doolittle," "Doo," or "Mooney," for moonshine) at a pie supper. Fresh from a stint in the military and determined not to become a coal miner, Doo married the 13-year-old Lynn and the two eventually moved to Custer, WA.

A mother of four by the age of 18, Lynn received a guitar from her husband as a present and taught herself to play it. The family was so poor that at times they had to subsist on dandelion greens, but Lynn discovered a talent for songwriting as she went about the duties of being a mother and housewife. At Doo's insistence, she began singing locally, and won a televised talent contest in Tacoma, where she was spotted by Norm Burley, who founded Zero Records just to record her. The young couple traveled the country, stopping at every local country radio station to promote her first single, "I'm A Honky Tonk Girl." Written by Lynn, the song became a minor hit, and opened the door to the Wilburn Brothers' Publishing Company when the Lynns reached Nashville. Her demo records for the Wilburns served as an entrée to a major label, Decca Records, and she played the Grand Ole Opry for the first time in 1960.

At the time, there were only a handful of successful female country singers, like Kitty Wells and Patsy Cline - the latter of whom would take the young Lynn under her wing, coloring her sound and becoming her mentor as well as her best friend. In fact, Lynn's first Top Ten hit, 1962's "Success," reflected Cline's influence. As a personal thank you, Lynn named her youngest children, twins Peggy and Patsy, after Cline. Lynn's honky tonk hits from the period included 1964's "Before I'm Over You," "Wine, Women, and Song," and a string of duets with Ernest Tubb, starting with "Mr. and Mrs. Used To Be." Lynn racked up three additional solo hits in 1965: "Happy Birthday," "Blue Kentucky Girl" and "The Home You're Tearing Down." The 1966 single "Dear Uncle Sam," which tackled the Vietnam War, was the first song Lynn wrote to hit the Top Ten, and also represented an artistic shift, which saw Lynn writing more personal music. That same year, "You Ain't Woman Enough," a feisty challenge to a would-be husband stealer became a huge hit and a signature of Lynn's new style. Like so many of Lynn's songs, it was based on Doo's extramarital exploits. The two would have a lifelong rocky marriage, made even more difficult as Lynn's stardom grew and Doo's role became secondary.

The feminism Lynn espoused in her work was of a down-to-earth, country-rooted variety, appealing to the women who did not have the option to go to college, hold down a glamorous job, or burn a bra; who were instead forced to negotiate a man's world while raising children. Lynn was truly a pioneer, the first country music star to advocate for equality between the sexes and to sing with passion and a wicked sense of humor through her wordplay about a woman's right to stand up for herself. The battle cry of 1967's album and Lynn-penned "Don't Come Home A'Drinkin' (with Lovin' on Your Mind)" gave Lynn her first No. 1 single and gold record. The following year, she returned to the top of the country charts with the hit "Fist City" from the album of the same name. No one was writing music like Lynn's sassy anthems, and she not only sang to the beleaguered working woman, but also for her. Always quick with a clever song gimmick, she followed that up with the successful album/single "Your Squaw is on the Warpath" in 1968, and topped the charts in 1969 with "Woman of the World (Leave My World Alone)."

Recognized as the biggest female star of her genre, Lynn was given the honorary title of "The First Lady of Country Music." She wrote herself a new sobriquet with her 1970 chart-topper "Coal Miner's Daughter." A stirring autobiography in song, "Daughter" paid tribute to the love and sacrifice of her parents as well as a long lost way of life. Powerful and heartfelt, the song immortalized Lynn's legend and became her ultimate signature song. Starting in 1971, Lynn launched a series of successful duets with Conway Twitty, hitting No. 1 with 1971's "After the Fire is Gone," 1971's "Lead Me On," 1973's "Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man," 1974's "As Soon As I Hang Up the Phone" and 1974's "Feelins'" as well as racking up seven Top 10 hits and a shelf-load of Country Music Association Awards. On her own, Lynn took the charming "One's on the Way" to the top of the charts in 1971 and had a Top 10 hit with her upbeat, self-penned anthem "You're Lookin' At Country." In 1972, Lynn became the first woman to win the CMA's most prestigious award, "Entertainer of the Year." In 1973, she returned to No. 1 with the comedic exploration of the troubles divorced women have, the controversial song "Rated X," and became the first country singer to appear on the cover of Newsweek. The next year, "Love Is the Foundation" flew to No. 1, she made the Top 5 with the bouncy "Hey Loretta," and again invited scandal with her 1975 ode to "The Pill."

Lynn's autobiography, Coal Miner's Daughter, co-written with George Vecsey, came out in 1976 and was a runaway bestseller, featuring the outspoken and highly quotable singer's thoughts. One of the first country music biographies, the book became the standard against all others would be measured and won Lynn waves of fans across the spectrum. In 1977, she recorded a tribute album to Patsy Cline, sending Cline's former No. 1 hit "She's Got You" back to the penthouse, and the following year, took home her last No. 1, "Out of My Head and Back in My Bed." It was the film version of "Coal Miner's Daughter" (1980), however, that cemented Lynn's place as a cultural icon across the board.

A painstakingly crafted view of Lynn's life, the film starred Sissy Spacek as Lynn in an Oscar-winning performance, and co-starred Tommy Lee Jones as Doo and Beverly D'Angelo as Patsy Cline. An enormous hit with critics and audiences alike, the film also boasted a killer soundtrack - featuring Spacek and D'Angelo providing their own vocals - that wowed audiences and earned Spacek her own record deal. The success of the film augmented Lynn's growing legend, and became one of the best big-screen musical biographies. Her touring bus and her Tennessee ranch became familiar icons for fans, and she continued to draw crowds all across the country. A household name even among non-country fans, Lynn notched appearances on everything from "The Muppet Show" (Syndicated, 1976-1981) to "Hee Haw" (syndicated, 1969-1992) as well as commercials and several primetime TV specials. Despite these career high points, off the stage, real-life tragedy touched the star when Lynn's son Jack drowned in 1984.

While she continued to have chart success in the 1980s, country music audiences and tastes were changing, and Lynn, along with her contemporaries, struggled to find airplay and promotion. Instead, she focused more on touring and caring for her husband, whose health was declining. Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1988, Lynn earned another success with the 1993 trio album Honky Tonk Angels with Tammy Wynette and Dolly Parton, which featured the hit "Silver Threads and Golden Needles." The project's quiet success was bittersweet, however, because while it renewed interest in the careers of the three country icons, it also revealed how little room there was on the modern country scene for these veterans.

The Lynns' turbulent, often violent marriage ended in 1996 when Doo passed away. Although he was an alcoholic philanderer, Lynn acknowledged how crucial he had been to her success and how difficult his death was for her. She recorded the song "I Can't Hear the Music" on her 2000 album Still Country in tribute to him, but her days of chart dominance had passed. On the literary front, however, she enjoyed successes with her 2002 follow-up autobiography Still Woman Enough and her 2004 cookbook You're Cookin' It Country. Considered a mighty influence by subsequent generations of performers, Lynn was an idol of indie superstar Jack White, who had achieved great success as one-half of the band The White Stripes. To pay homage to her, the 28-year-old White produced the 70-year-old Lynn's 2004 album Van Lear Rose, which was an unexpected critical and commercial breakthrough, exposing new generations to the iconic country singer and winning her the best reviews of her career. Writing every song on the album save one, and singing them with her famous fire and conviction, Lynn won two Grammys: Best Country Album and Best Country Collaboration with Vocals for her duet with White, "Portland, Oregon." Many critics considered the album not only the best of Lynn's career, but also the best album of 2004, bar none.

By Jonathan Riggs

Relationships

Mooney Lynn Actor

Husband
Married Jan. 10, 1946 until his death on Aug. 22, 1996

Patsy Lynn Actor

Daughter
Born Aug. 6, 1964; twin of Peggy Lynn; father, Mooney Lynn

Peggy Lynn Actor

Daughter
Born Aug. 6, 1964; twin of Patsy Lynn; father, Mooney Lynn

Milestones

2010

Released tribute and duets album Coal Miner's Daughter: A Tribute to Loretta Lynn; featured covers of Lynn's hits by Carrie Underwood, Kid Rock, and The White Stripes

2008

Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in NYC

2004

Wrote the cookbook You're Cookin' It Country: My Favorite Recipes and Memories

2004

Made a comeback with Van Lear Rose; co-written and produced by Jack White of The White Stripes; won Grammy Awards for Best Country Album and Best Country Collaboration with Vocals in 2005

2003

Recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors

2002

Published second bestselling autobiography Still Woman Enough

2000

Became the first woman in country music to chart singles in five decades with "Country In My Genes"

1995

Presented with the Pioneer Award at the 30th Academy of Country Music Awards

1993

Released trio album Honky Tonk Angels with fellow country icons Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette

1988

Elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame

1985

Last Top 20 hit, "Heart Don't Do This to Me"

1982

Made acting debut with a guest starring role on "Fantasy Island" (ABC)

1982

Last Top 10 record as a solo artist, "I Lie"

1980

Life story and 1976 autobiography inspired the feature film "Coal Miner's Daughter"; Sissy Spacek portrayed Lynn

1979

Named spokeswoman for Procter & Gamble's Crisco Oil

1977

Released the album Tribute in honor of her friend Patsy Cline, who died in a plane crash in 1963

1977

Became first female country artist to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

1976

Penned her autobiography Coal Miner's Daughter with the help of writer Geroge Vecsey; became first country music artist to make the New York Times bestseller list

1973

Became the first country star to appear on the cover of Newsweek

1972

Released the controversial single "Rated 'X'"; song went to No. 1 in country charts even though it was banned by several outlets

1972

Became first woman to win the Country Music Association's Entertainer of the Year

1970

Recorded five consecutive No. 1 duets with Conway Twitty including "After the Fire Is Gone" (1971) and "Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man" (1973)

1970

Released the title track to the album One's on the Way, penned by poet and author Shel Silverstein

1969

Wrote and recorded the autobiographical song "Coal Miner's Daughter"; landed at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart; Lynn's first single to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 (No. 83)

1967

Made her No. 1 debut on the country albums chart with Don't Come Home a Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind)

1966

Became first country female recording artist to write a No. 1 hit with "You Ain't Woman Enough"

1963

Released debut album Loretta Lynn Sings

1962

Released the Top 10 single "Success"

1960

Signed a contract with Zero Records; recorded "I'm A Honky Tonk Girl"

1959

With a guitar her husband bought as an anniversary gift, taught herself how to play (date approx.); also began singing at local clubs

1951

Moved to Custer, WA with her husband Oliver "Mooney" Lynn

Bonus Trivia

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Lynn was ranked No. 65 on VH1's list of the Greatest Women of Rock N Roll.

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In 2006, Lynn underwent shoulder surgery after injuring herself in a fall.

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Lynn was forced to cancel a show in Kentucky on Oct. 23, 2011 after she was hospitalized for bacterial pneumonia. She was treated over the weekend and released the following Monday.

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