Kenny Rogers, a Grammy Award-winning singer and actor who spent his early years in the Heights area, died Friday at his home in Georgia, according to a report by the Associated Press. He was 81.
Rogers, one of eight children, was born in Houston and grew up in public housing near the Heights, according to the AP. His ties to the historic neighborhood also helped him launch a decorated music career that spanned six decades.
Rogers’ first hit was a 1958 song called “That Crazy Feeling,” which was written and produced by Ray Doggett. Doggett owned a recording studio called Doggett Music Enterprises at 1045 Studewood St., where the Red Dessert Dive bakery is now located.
Rogers, primarily a country music singer who also crossed over into jazz and pop, won three Grammy Awards and was a five-time winner of Country Music Association awards. In 2013, he was inducted in the Country Music Hall of Fame.
His best-known hits were “The Gambler,” a song that Rogers parlayed into an acting career, as well as “Lady,” “Lucille” and “Islands in the Stream,” a duet with Dolly Parton.
Rogers’ family is planning a private service “out of concern for the national COVID-19 emergency,” according to the AP, with a public memorial to be held at a later date.