Barbara Ann Mandrell was born on December 25, 1948 in Houston, Texas. Her parents Mary Ellen and Irby Matthew Mandrell. Her mom used to be a homemaker and musician, and comes from a big family in Wayne County, Illinois. Her dad was a navy veteran of WWII, and a police officer in Texas. He is a native of Garland County, Arkansas, and also an accomplished musician and entrepreneur.
Barbara started to play the accordion and read sheet music even before she could read regular words. By eleven, she was a prodigy on the steel guitar. Her father took her to a music trade show in Chicago due to her talent. Her performance there caught the eyes and ears of the legendary country guitarists Chet Atkins and “Uncle” Joe Maphis. This was her first stuntin the music industry, and the first step in what would become a very successful, 38-yearlong career.
After her performance, Maphis invited her to join his show at the Showboat Hotel in Las Vegas. This was one of the single greatest influences on her career. As a teenager, she went on tours with The Johnny Cash Show, featuring some of the high-profile guests such asJune Carter, Patsy Cline, and George Jones.
Sometime after this, her father formed the Mandrell Family Band, and they had a successful Asian tour. The band brought Mandrell together with Ken Dudney, her future husband. Her dad hired him as the drummer in the band, and the pair married on May 28, 1967.
Her career really took off in Nashville, her first hit being a remake of Otis Redding’s classic “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long”. She appeared on all of the charts, after which a number of No.1 came, which all propelled her to the front of country music scene. Songs like “Sleeping Single in a Double Bed”, “(If Loving You is Wrong) I Don’t Want to Be Right” and “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool” are some of the huge hits she made.
Achievements, Honors, and Rewards
In 1980, she was named by the Country Music Association the Entertainer of the Year. Back then, she was only the third woman to win the prestigious title. She won it for the second time in 1981. Only Taylor Swift managed to do this after her. Barbara Mandrell also won a wide range of titles and honors from the Country Music Association, Grammy Awards, Academy of Country Music, American Music Awards and People’s Choice Awards. All of these make her one of the most awarded country performers in history.
Her sisters, Louise and Irlene, had a big television career starting in the 1980’s, thanks to their NBC variety show Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters. The popular show had around 40 million viewers a week, and practically introduced the world to country music.
Mandrell appeared in HBO, CBS and TNN specials. She hosted The Tonight Show and People’s Choice Awards programs, and also made appearances on countless other, including Barbara Walters’ Specials, Larry King Live,and HEE HAW. In 1990, she wrote an autobiography called Get to the Heart: The Barbara Mandrell Story, which became a New York Times Best Seller only four days after publishing, and stayed on the list for six months. It was later adapted for a CBS TV movie.
Mandrell officially retired in 1997.Her last concert was the Barbara Mandrell and the Do-Rites: The Last Dance. TNN filmed it at the Grand Ole Opry, making it a highly rated concert special. In 1999, she was inducted into the Country Gospel Music Hall of Fame, and in 2000, the Academy of Country Music honored her with The Pioneer Award. In 2009, Mandrell became the first and only woman inducted into the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame, while the Country Music Hall of Fame inducted her in a ceremony, paying tribute to her incredible career. Four years ago in 2014, Mandrell also became part of the Musicians Hall of Fame, and was also recognized for her skill in playing multiple instruments, mainly the steel guitar.
Barbara Mandrell always embraced success in her career, but also remained focused on her private life. She has a deep love of God, her family and of course country music, and is a true embodiment of an entertainer. In her free time, she likes to garden, visit friends, take care of her home and family and generally enjoys a slower pace of life ever since she had retired. “I have so much to do, I don’t know when I found time to work,” she often says.
Personal Information and Net Worth
Mandrell’s sister Thelma ‘Louise’ Mandrell was born on July 13, 1954 and her second sister Ellen ‘Irlene’ Mandrell arrived 18 months later, on January 29, 1956.
Mandrell and her husband Dudney have three children, Kenneth Matthew Dudney, Jaime Nicole Dudney, and Nathaniel Mandrell Dudney. She is also a grandmother. She has been married for 48 years.
Currently, the singer has an estimated net worth of $45 million dollars. She achieved this through her music of course, and the immensely successful career it brought her.