News of Mickey Gilley’s death circulated in the country music community shortly after a press release by Jeff Wagner, mayor of Pasadena. The legendary country music singer, songwriter, actor, and pioneering member of the genre passed away in Branson, Missouri, last May 7, 2022 with friends and family by his side and after finishing off a string of shows. Prior to his death, the singer had already canceled shows for this month due to deteriorating health. He was 86.
Gilley has had an impressive career resume. In 1971, he opened the world-famous and world’s biggest honky-tonk in Pasadena, Texas, called Gilley’s. And while the original location no longer operates, the club has become so successful that it has already expanded to three different locations – Las Vegas, Nevada; Dallas, Texas; and Durant, Oklahoma. Aside from making a mark in the business, he also created a name for himself as an actor. He starred alongside John Travolta, Debra Winger, and Johnny Lee in the 1980 movie “Urban Cowboy” which was actually filmed in his club. And after that, he went on to appear in other hit TV shows, including “Murder She Wrote” and “The Fall Guy.”
As a country singer and songwriter, Mickey Gilley charted 42 singles in the Top 40 Country charts (with 17 no. 1 songs), won six ACMs in his career, and was also inducted into the Delta Music Hall of Fame. Additionally, his contributions in the recording industry earned him a star on the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, California. He also opened a theater in Branson wherein he would be seen regularly performing.
He is survived by his current wife, Cindy Loeb, his three children from his first wife Geraldine Garrett – Keith Ray, Michael, Kathy – and his son Gregory with his second wife Vivian McDonald, four grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.
Mickey Gilley’s death has definitely struck a lot of musicians, and heartwarming messages and tributes have since poured all over social media. He will be missed.