Legendary country music singer, songwriter and actor Mickey Gilley has passed away.
According to a press release, Gilley passed away today at the age of 86 in Branson, Missouri with friends and family by his side after just coming off the road from a string of shows last month.
A native of Natchez, Mississippi, Gilley notched 17 number one singles in his career with songs like “Room Full of Roses,” “Don’t the Girls All Get Prettier At Closing Time” and “She’s Pulling Me Back Again.”
In 1971 he opened Gilley’s, the world-famous honky tonk in Pasadena, Texas that would become known as “the world’s biggest honky tonk.” Gilley’s would also serve as the setting for the 1980 movie “Urban Cowboy,” which Gilley himself starred in alongside John Travolta and Johnny Lee. And after the success of “Urban Cowboy” launched his acting career,Gilley would then go on to appear in several other hit TV shows like “Murder She Wrote,” “The Fall Guy,” “Fantasy Island” and “Dukes of Hazzard.”
Gilley won six ACM Awards during his career, including Entertainer of the Year, Album of the Year, Single of the Year, Song of the Year and Top Male Vocalist at the 1976 ceremonies. And in 2002, Gilley was inducted into the Delta Music Museum Hall of Fame in Ferriday, Louisiana alongside his famous cousins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Jimmy Swaggart. He was also given his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In more recent years, Gilley returned to the studio for the 2016 album Kickin’ It Down the Road, his first new album in 20 years, which featured new recordings and remakes of several of his own classic songs, as well as 2018’s Two Old Cats which featured Gilley teaming up with Troy Payne for duets of some classic country songs.
Gilley also opened a theater in Branson, where he would regularly perform.
Jeff Wagner, the mayor of Pasadena, Texas issued a statement announcing Gilley’s death:
“Pasadena has lost a true legend. Mickey Gilley passed away today, surrounded by his loved ones. It was my great honor to know this man most of my life. Mickey was a true musical talent who charted 42 singles in the Top 40 Country Charts over a span of two decades.
His talent and larger-than-life personality helped ignite a new interest in country music as he introduced the world to Pasadena through his dance hall and “Urban Cowboy” in 1980.
We were so honored to have Mickey perform at our State of the City in February, 2020. Our prayers for comfort and peace are with Mickey’s family, his loved ones and his fans.”
He was preceded in death by his wife Vivian, and survived by his current wife Cindy Loeb Gilley, his children Kathy, Michael, Gregory and Keith Ray, four grandchildren and nine great grandchildren, as well as his cousins Jerry Lee Lewis and Jimmy Swaggart.