“How-dee! I’m just so proud to be here” will once again echo through the halls of the world famous Grand Ole Opry House as CMT and the Opry pay tribute to the legendary “Queen of Country Comedy,” the late Minnie Pearl (Sarah Ophelia Cannon) on Saturday, Aug. 31 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CMT’s Grand Ole Opry Live.
Superstar Vince Gill will host this special episode of Grand Ole Opry Live. Joining Gill on this special night will be Clint Black , Steve Wariner and other favorites as they share stories and songs honoring Pearl. “As a performer, she was the consummate pro. Always on … always on top of her game,” says Opry member Wariner. “She was an angel with a wicked sense of humor!” Wariner will perform Pearl’s favorite song, “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?” as part of the evening’s tribute.
The prestigious Minnie Pearl Humanitarian Award will also be presented to this year’s recipient by 2001 winner Kathy Mattea . The award, given annually for outstanding humanitarian and community contributions, is named after its first recipient, who received the honor in 1988.
A member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1940, Cannon once said, “Being on the Opry opened a new life for me.” As Pearl, Cannon opened up a whole new look at small town life and brought many laughs and the comforting feeling of home to many of her Opry family members, fellow artists and fans eager to hear the gossip and stories of Pearl’s hometown of “Grinder’s Switch.” Sarah Ophelia Cannon best described her world-renowned character: “Minnie Pearl is uncomplicated. She’s apple and clothes dried in the sun and the smell of fresh baking bread. I don’t think people think of her so much as a show business act as just a friend. When I’m on stage, I’m just plain Minnie Pearl wearing my battered old straw hat and battered shoes. The price tag on my hat seems to be symbolic of all human frailty. There’s old Minnie Pearl standing on stage in her best dress, telling everyone how proud she is to be there and she’s forgotten to take the $1.98 price tag off her hat.”
In 1975, Cannon became a member of the prestigious Country Music Hall of Fame. The bronze plaque placed there in her honor reads, in part, “Humor is the least recorded, but certainly one of the most important aspects of live country music. No one exemplified the values of pure country comedy more than Minnie Pearl.”
CMT’s weekly series Grand Ole Opry Live combines performances from the Opry stage with behind-the-scenes segments, hosted by Katie Cook that highlight the special atmosphere of the 76-year-old show. The Opry is the longest-running live radio show in the world and is the most recognized brand in country music.