2010 Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame inductees named

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 76 views 

Kris Allen, Lisa Blount, Jim “Moose” Brown, Barbara Fairchild, Albert King, George Newbern, Mark Sallings, Jerry McKinnis and Charles Pierce will be inducted as the 2010 class in the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame.
The Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame is located in Pine Bluff at the Pine Bluff Convention Center. The board bi-annually selects a slate of honorees from public nominations of those Arkansans, living or deceased, who have made an outstanding and lasting contribution to the entertainment field locally, regionally or worldwide. This year’s list of honorees includes singers/musicians, film and television actors, and radio/television personalities who “made their mark.”
Allen, raised in Jacksonville and living in Conway, became a household name when he rose to the top of competing contestants on “American Idol” in 2009. In May of that year, Allen made it to the finals of the top-rated competition, and, after the viewing public cast nearly 100 million votes, he won the title of American Idol. The artist’s self-titled debut album has sold more than one million copies to date. Allen is touring with the pop group, Maroon 5, and country artist Keith Urban.

Born in Fayetteville and raised in Jacksonville, Blount’s early career included films with Jack Nicholson (“Sam’s Song”) and Dennis Quaid (“9/30/55”). It was 1982’s “An Officer and a Gentleman” that blasted Blount into the spotlight. The role of Lynette Pomeroy earned her critical acclaim and a Golden Globe nomination. She has appeared in numerous television shows and films since the mid-80s, including “Moonlighting,” “Magnum P.I.,” “Murder, She Wrote,” and “Great Balls of Fire!” In the late 90s, Blount began producing films with her husband, Ray McKinnon. They received the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film in 2001 for their film “The Accountant.”
Jim “Moose” Brown left Jonesboro in 1982 for Nashville, Tenn. He is an award-winning songwriter and a Grammy-nominated musician and producer. One of his most successful songs, “It’s Five O’clock Somewhere,” earned legendary singer/performer Jimmy Buffett his first-ever music award, as well as a Grammy for Brown as Best Country Song in 2003. He is an acclaimed studio musician, appearing in songs by Hank Williams, Jr.; Brad Paisley; Marty Stuart; Jamey Johnson; and Ricky Skaggs. He toured with Bob Seger as a member of the Silver Bullet Band, playing electric guitar and keyboards.

Barbara Fairchild began entertaining as a five-year-old, in a local talent show. Her family moved from Knobel, Ark., to St. Louis when she was 13. Two years later, she recorded her first song, “Brand New Bed of Roses.” After finishing high school, Fairchild moved to Nashville, Tenn. Within months, she was hired by MCA Records as a staff writer. In 1969, she signed with Columbia Records and released her first single for the label, “Love is a Gentle Thing.” Her biggest hit would come in 1972 with “Teddy Bear Song,” which became a number one country hit and crossed over to the pop charts. The song also garnered her a Grammy nomination. After several Top Ten country singles in the 1970s, Fairchild changed musical genres. A career singing gospel music began in 1989 when she joined the group Heirloom. She released her first solo gospel album in 1991. Fairchild continues to record gospel music and performs regularly at Barbara Fairchild’s Diner in Branson.

Born in Mississippi, blues musician Albert King and his family moved to the Forrest City area in 1931. King taught himself to play guitar on a handmade instrument made from a cigar box. He began playing with gospel groups throughout the region until he discovered the blues. King made his way to Osceola, finding work at the T-99 nightclub as a guitarist for the house band, the In the Groove Boys. Throughout the 50s and 60s, the legendary bluesman toured and recorded. His 1967 album, “Born Under a Bad Sign,” was recorded during his time with Stax Records and became one of the most popular and influential blues recordings of the era. During the 1970s, King continued recording and touring the world. In 1982, he announced his retirement, although he played concerts and festivals until his death in 1992. Guitar greats Stevie Ray Vaughn and Eric Clapton have named King as a major influence on their playing style.

George Newbern began his career in his hometown of Little Rock, in a performance of “Life with Father” at the Arkansas Arts Center. His first lead role was in the television show “Double Switch” in 1987. Newbern then landed the role of Dixie Carter’s son, Payne, in the classic Southern sitcom, “Designing Women.” Newbern became a fan favorite with his portrayal of Steve Martin’s son-in-law, Bryan MacKenzie, in “Father of the Bride” and its subsequent sequel. Newbern continues to act, appearing recently in “Criminal Minds,” “Nip/Tuck,” and “CSI:NY.”

Musician Mark Sallings was born in Searcy and raised in McCrory. He began playing harmonica at a young age and was playing professionally by 14 (he later added sax, keyboard, clarinet and flute to his repetoire). After graduating from high school, Sallings was recruited across the Mississippi River to Memphis, where he worked at Stax Records as a session musician. During the 1980s, he performed with the Coon Elder Band and country musician David Lynn Jones. He later formed the band The Famous Unknowns, which became the first house band at B.B. King’s Blues Club in Memphis. Sallings and the band were a favorite at the Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival (formerly known as the King Biscuit Blues Festival) in Helena-West Helena. He was on the way to a performance when he was killed in an automobile accident on Feb. 25, 2009.

Jerry McKinnis first came to Arkansas in his 20s. He’d saved his money for a fishing trip on the White River and ended up with Forrest Wood (the creator of Ranger Boats) as his guide! He made his way back to The Natural State, guiding trips along the White River and running a dock on Lake Maumelle. He began doing fishing reports for a Little Rock television station that soon became a syndicated weekly program, “The Fishin’ Hole.” McKinnis eventually persuaded an up-and-coming sports network, ESPN, to air his program. The show joined the ESPN lineup in 1980 and continued until 2007, making it one of the longest-running outdoor shows in the United States. McKinnis now heads JM Associates in Little Rock.

Raised in Hampton, Charles B. Pierce worked at an advertising agency in Texarkana when he made his first film, “The Legend of Boggy Creek.” Based on Arkansas’s legendary Fouke Monster, the pseudo-docudrama featured interviews with area residents and their “encounters” with the Bigfoot-like creature. The film, which cost $160,000 to make in 1972, gained cult status and eventually earned more than $20 million. Pierce later served as producer, director, cinematographer and set director on numerous films and television series. Pierce died at the age of 71 in March 2010.

This year’s inductees will join the 70 previous honorees, which includes such celebrated Arkansans as Johnny Cash, Levon Helm, Mary Steenburgen, Louis Jordan, Billy Bob Thornton, Patsy Montana, Sonny Boy Williamson, John Grisham, Conway Twitty, Dick Powell and Alan Ladd.

The induction ceremony is scheduled for 6:45 p.m., Sept. 9, at the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion in Little Rock. For questions regarding the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame or the upcoming induction ceremony, contact the museum at (800) 536-7660.