(born March 28, 1955, McAlester, Okla., U.S.) American singer and actress, one of the most popular female country vocal artists of the 20th century, who later found crossover success with her television sitcom, Reba.
As the daughter of a world champion steer roper, McEntire spent time during her childhood traveling between rodeo performances. On the trips, her mother helped nurture her musical abilities, and McEntire formed a band with her siblings while in the ninth grade. She scored her first big break when she was asked to sing the national anthem at the 1974 National Finals Rodeo. Her performance impressed country music star Red Steagall, who helped McEntire record a demo that led to a contract with Mercury Records. Six years after her first single, “I Don’t Want to Be a One Night Stand” (1976), she topped the charts with “Can’t Even Get the Blues” (1982). Other hits followed, but McEntire longed to have more control of her own career and to recapture a more traditional country music sound. She moved to the MCA label in 1984, started coproducing her albums, and topped the country charts seven times by the end of 1986. She was the first woman to win six Country Music Association award nominations in one year and was crowned CMA’s best female vocalist in an unprecedented four consecutive years (1984–87).
With her musical success established, McEntire expanded into business and acting. Along with second husband and manager Narvel Blackstock, McEntire built an empire that included a talent-management firm, a construction company, a horse farm, and a jet charter service. She made her film debut in the 1990 science-fiction thriller Tremors. The following March, a plane carrying her tour manager and seven band members crashed near San Diego, Calif. McEntire paid tribute to the victims on the album For My Broken Heart (1991).
In 1994 McEntire recorded the album Read My Mind; published her best-selling autobiography, Reba: My Story; appeared in the films North and The Little Rascals; and won both a Grammy Award and a CMA award for her collaboration with Linda Davis on “Does He Love You.” She starred in a number of made-for-television movies over the next few years before landing her own television sitcom, Reba, which she also coproduced, in 2001. The show, about a single mother and her family in suburban Texas, ran until early 2007. McEntire continued to tour. Her later albums include Room to Breathe (2003).