Richest CelebritiesSingers
Net Worth:
$5 Million
Oct 25, 1912 - Mar 4, 1996 (83 years old)
Comedian, Actor
United States of America
­čĺ░ Compare Minnie Pearl's Net Worth

What was Minnie Pearl's net worth?

Minnie Pearl was an American country comedian and actress who had a net worth of $2.5 million at the time of her death. After adjusting for inflation, that's the same as $5 million today. Minnie Pearl was born in Centerville, Tennessee in October 1912 and passed away in March 1996. She appeared at the Grand Ole Opry from 1940 to 1991. Pearl was also known for starring on the television series "Hee Haw" from 1969 to 1991. She appeared on several other TV series including "The Joey Bishop Show," "The Mike Douglas Show," "The Merv Griffin Show," and more.

Her comedy was seen as a satire of rural Southern, or "hillbilly" culture. She partnered with gospel singer Mahalia Jackson to start a chain of chicken restaurants in the late 1960s. Pearl released several books and a handful of albums as well. She received the National Medal of Arts in 1992 and a museum dedicated to her was located just outside the Grand Ole Opry House in Opryland USA. Minnie Pearl passed away on March 4, 1996 at 83 years old.

Early Life

Minnie Pearl was born on October 25, 1912 in Centerville, Tennessee and given the name Sarah Ophelia Colley. She was the youngest of five daughters and her father was a successful sawmill owner and timber dealer in Centerville. After high school, she attended Ward-Belmont College. At the time, the school was Nashville's most prestigious school for young ladies and she majored in theater studies and dance. For the first few years after graduating, Pearl taught dance to young girls.


Pearl's first professional work was with the Wayne P. Sewell Production Company, a touring theater company based in Atlanta. She produced and directed plays and musicals for local organizations in small towns throughout the Southeast. In order to promote the group's shows, she would make regular appearances at civic organizations. During this time, she developed the Minnie Pearl routine and character. While producing an amateur musical comedy in Baileyton, Alabama, she had met a mountain woman there whose style and speech inspired her to develop the character. Her first stage performance as Minnie Pearl was in 1939 in Aiken, South Carolina. The hat that she wore, which later became famous, was purchased downtown at Surasky Bros. Department store before the show.

The next year, executives from Nashville radio station WSM saw her perform as Minnie Pearl and gave her the opportunity to appear on the Grand Old Opry on November 30, 1940. The success of her debut on the show began an association with the Grand Ole Opry that continued for more than 50 years. Pearl's comedy was a satire of rural Southern culture, sometimes called hillbilly culture. She always dressed in frilly dresses and wore a hat with a price tag hanging from it and would greet the audience with an elongated "Howdy! I'm just so proud to be here!" She then further developed her greeting to become a call-and-response with audiences everywhere. Her show often included self-deprecating humor and stories about her various relatives like Uncle Nabob, Aunt Ambrosia, Lucifer Hucklehead, and Doc Payne.


In addition to performing at the Grand Old Opry, Pearl also performed the character for many years on television. She first performed on ABC's "Ozark Jubilee" in the late 1950s. She then performed on the long-running television series "Hee Haw," first on CBS and then on the subsequent syndicated version. She also made several appearances on NBC's "The Ford Show, Starring Tennessee Ernie Ford" and appeared as a celebrity panelist on game shows like "Match Game" and "Hollywood Squares." Her last regular performances on national television were on Ralph Emery's "Nashville Now" country-music talk show.

Pearl's career had an important impact on many younger female musicians and on country music culture in general. In 1992, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts. She was friends with performers outside the country music genre as well like Elvis Presley, Dean Martin, and Paul Reubens, the actor who played Pee-wee Herman. In 1992, Reubens made his final appearance for 15 years as Pee-wee Herman at a Minnie Pearl tribute show.

Personal Life and Death

Pearl married Henry R. Cannon on February 23, 1947. Cannon had been an Army Air Corps fighter pilot during World War II and then was a partner in an air charter service. After their marriage, her husband took over management of her career. He also ran an air charter service for country music performers like Eddy Arnold, Colonel Tom Parker, Hank Williams, Carl Smith, Webb Pierce, and Elvis Presley. In 1969, the couple bought a large estate home in Nashville next door to the Tennessee Governor's mansion. The couple did not have any children.

Pearl struggled with breast cancer during the final years of her life. She went through aggressive treatments, including a double mastectomy and radiation therapy. In 1991, she suffered a debilitating stroke which brought her performing career to an end. After the stroke, she resided in a Nashville nursing home where she was frequently visited by musicians like Vince Gill and Amy Grant. She passed away on March 4, 1996 at the age of 83. She was buried at Mount Hope Cemetery in Franklin, Tennessee. In her memory, the Minnie Pearl Cancer Foundation was founded to help fund cancer research. The center where she was treated was later named the Sarah Cannon Cancer Center and has been expanded to at least twenty other hospitals in Middle Tennessee.

A museum dedicated to Minnie Pearl existed just outside the Grand Ole Opry House at Opryland USA in Nashville. However, the museum was closed in 1997, though many of the pieces from the exhibits are now displayed at the adjacent Grand Ole Opry Museum.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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