Inside Patsy Cline's Life Story

Patsy Cline pioneered the Nashville Sound all country fans know and love. Her life story was filled with twists and turns up to her untimely passing. Today her massive legacy still lives on through her family and her immense success. Let's explore the woman who changed the country scene forever! 

Image Credit: Getty Images / Patsy Cline posed portrait in January.

Image Credit: Getty Images / Patsy Cline posed portrait in January.


Patsy Cline's Childhood Was Different Than Most 

While you may not recognize the name "Virginia Patterson Hensley" this was the original birth name of Patsy Cline. Her moniker came naturally and now her fans cannot imagine her with any other name. The rising star was born in 1932 to a mother, Hilda who was just 16 years old at the time!

Image Credit: Getty Images / Painting of country music singers Patsy Cline and Hank Williams Sr. in Nashville, Tennessee, in 2001.

Image Credit: Getty Images / Painting of country music singers Patsy Cline and Hank Williams Sr. in Nashville, Tennessee, in 2001.

Her parents and siblings affectionately called her "Ginny" and life for the Hensley clan was not easy. They were making a living during the Great Depression. Her saving grace was a special connection to music. The radio was always blaring in their home and the struggling family also took to the piano.  

Image Credit: Getty Images / Pasty Cline's image appears on the television monitor at The Langham Huntington, Pasadena on February 01, 2019 in Pasadena, California.

Image Credit: Getty Images / Pasty Cline's image appears on the television monitor at The Langham Huntington, Pasadena on February 01, 2019 in Pasadena, California.


The Life Of A Young Traveller 

"Ginny" moved around as a young girl and before she was 15 she had been relocated almost twenty times! This was linked to her father's occupation as a Blacksmith. He had to find any possible jobs but this busy lifestyle was not all bad. The young Patsy was sassy and musically gifted as soon as she could walk.
Image Credit: Getty Images / Madame Tussauds Hollywood welcomes country music legends Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash and Hank Williams Sr. at Madame Tussauds on March 24, 2016 in Hollywood, California.

Image Credit: Getty Images / Madame Tussauds Hollywood welcomes country music legends Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash and Hank Williams Sr. at Madame Tussauds on March 24, 2016 in Hollywood, California.

In the writing, Honky Tonk Angel: The Intimate Story of Patsy Cline by Ellis Nassour, a family friend shared: 

"I can still see her now as a five- and six-year-old, skipping down the street, singing at the top of her voice. Already she possessed a sassiness and the knowledge that she was someone special." 

Image Credit: Getty Images / Madame Tussauds' wax figures of Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn are seen at the Franklin Theatre on October 09, 2019 in Franklin, Tennessee.

Image Credit: Getty Images / Madame Tussauds' wax figures of Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn are seen at the Franklin Theatre on October 09, 2019 in Franklin, Tennessee.


Her Natural Talent Outweighed The Need For Any Singing Lessons 

Patsy Cline was not shy to confess that she had little to no training in the musical fields. She once stated: "I can't read a note of music and I never took a singing lesson in my life." Yet, that did not stop her from achieving massive fame and taking her success to the Grand Ole Opry. 

Image Credit: Getty Images / Photo of Patsy Cline, Posed portrait in January.

Image Credit: Getty Images / Photo of Patsy Cline, Posed portrait in January.


Patsy's Challenges Continue 

She was 13 when it was discovered that she was differing from a throat infection in addition to rheumatic fever. This might have been a setback to some but for Patsy, it was a chance to make a change. She explained

"I developed a terrible throat infection and my heart even stopped beating. The doctor put me in an oxygen tent. You might say it was my return to the living after several days that launched me as a singer."

Image Credit: Getty Images / Patsy Cline town history tour and a framed collection of Patsy Cline commemorative stamps.

Image Credit: Getty Images / Patsy Cline town history tour and a framed collection of Patsy Cline commemorative stamps.

Patsy believes it was this sensitivity with her vocal cords that ultimately shaped her voice into the sensational songstress we know today. Her hardship shows us that what tries to get us down does not need to keep us from achieving our dreams and vision for our lives. 

Image Credit: Getty Images / Country musicians Ferlin Husky and Patsy Cline pose for a portrait at an event in circa 1960 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Image Credit: Getty Images / Country musicians Ferlin Husky and Patsy Cline pose for a portrait at an event in circa 1960 in Nashville, Tennessee.


Going After Her Dream Was An Uphill Battle 

When her parents split up she moved to Winchester, Virginia with her mother and two siblings. Their home did not have any electricity or running water and they really went through deep waters. Patsy took up quite a cutthroat job working with chickens in a poultry plant, a far cry from her dreams of being a star! 

Image Credit: Getty Images / Patsy Cline poses in Black and White circa 1970.

Image Credit: Getty Images / Patsy Cline poses in Black and White circa 1970.


Patsy Takes On A New Identity 

By 1952, things started to change and Virginia Patterson Hensley was sharing her skills and talents at clubs regularly. The leader of her band, Bill Peer was the one who encouraged her to pick a moniker. Once she wed Gerald Cline, she settled on Patsy Cline.

Image Credit: Getty Images / Photo of Patsy Cline, circa 1970.

Image Credit: Getty Images / Photo of Patsy Cline, circa 1970.

Her life with Gerald was up and down and her focus was vastly different from her husband. While he worked, she put all of her attention into her music and gigs. Gerald shared

"There wasn't much of a marriage. It was her way or not at all. And that wasn't fair to me. For a long time, I tried but got nothing in return." 

Image Credit: Getty Images / Country musicians Faron Young, Patsy Cline and Ferlin Husky pose for a portrait wearing tropical clothing in circa 1960.

Image Credit: Getty Images / Country musicians Faron Young, Patsy Cline and Ferlin Husky pose for a portrait wearing tropical clothing in circa 1960.


The Love Of Patsy's Life 

The second love of her life came in 1956 when she met Charlie Dick. He was a wild individual and the pair often got into arguments. They tied the knot in 1957 but Dick left the Army the following year in 1958. However, Patsy also became a mom in the meantime.

Image Credit: Getty Images / Melissa Swift-Sawyer, playing Patsy Cline during a performance of Always Patsy Cline on Thursday at the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse.

Image Credit: Getty Images / Melissa Swift-Sawyer, playing Patsy Cline during a performance of Always Patsy Cline on Thursday at the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse.


A Star Is Born 

By the 60s, the new mother was in need of a stable income so she signed with the Decca Records record label. This led to the song, "I Fall to Pieces." Her breath of fresh air in the Nashville Sound brought Cline's career back into the spotlight and she took chances no one else would.

Image Credit: Getty Images / Melissa Swift-Sawyer, playing Patsy Cline during a performance of Always Patsy Cline on Thursday at the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse.

Image Credit: Getty Images / Melissa Swift-Sawyer, playing Patsy Cline during a performance of Always Patsy Cline on Thursday at the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse.

He producer always said: 

"What she really had was a pop voice in a country music head. Until Patsy, no country female singer dared being smooth; they were all rough."

Image Credit: Getty Images / Sandy Kelly Performs in Patsy Cline.

Image Credit: Getty Images / Sandy Kelly Performs in Patsy Cline.


Landing The Spot She Always Dreamed Of 

It was a lifelong vision of Patsy Cline to join and obtain a membership with the Grand Ole' Opry. She got this honor after almost losing her life during her second childbirth and a later car accident! There was always some hustle and bustle happening in her life there is no denying that!

Image Credit: Getty Images /  Photo of Patsy Cline, January 01.

Image Credit: Getty Images / Photo of Patsy Cline, January 01.


How Patsy's Life Changed At 28 

In 1961, the 28-year-old Patsy was in a pretty big altercation on the road. Not only did this scare her but she was left with some pretty bad scarring on her face. Despite this, the singer was back on the stage a mere year later, doing what she loved most in the world.

Image Credit: Getty Images / Patsy Cline, 1957: 1957, Tennessee, Nashville.

Image Credit: Getty Images / Patsy Cline, 1957: 1957, Tennessee, Nashville.


Cherishing Patsy Cline's Memory 

No one can contradict the star quality and natural talent of this country sensation. Patsy Cline's fanbase is still remembering her to this very day. Her untimely passing came in 1963 when she was on a flight with her manager who was also the pilot. They were making their way to Kansas City.

Image Credit: Getty Images / Photo of American country singer Patsy Cline (1932-1963) posed circa 1960.

Image Credit: Getty Images / Photo of American country singer Patsy Cline (1932-1963) posed circa 1960.

There were two more country artists in the small aircraft as well. When they were met with unfavorable weather conditions, they decided to brace it, not expecting the severity of what was coming. Singer Dottie West offered her an alternative lift back to Nashville but Patsy replied:

"Don't worry about me, Hoss. When it's my time to go, it's my time to go."

Image Credit: Getty Images / Photo of Patsy Cline, circa 1950.

Image Credit: Getty Images / Photo of Patsy Cline, circa 1950.


Saying Goodbye To The Country Star 

Cline's time did come in March of that year went heir plane went down near Camden, Tennessee. She was only 30 at the time and had a husband and two small children to support. Her tragic passing was both unexpected and a big loss to the music industry at large.

Image Credit: Getty Images / Patsy Cline town history tour Harold Madigan, pharmacist and owner of Gaunt's drug store where patsy Cline worked at the soda fountain.

Image Credit: Getty Images / Patsy Cline town history tour Harold Madigan, pharmacist and owner of Gaunt's drug store where patsy Cline worked at the soda fountain.


Her Legacy Lives On 

Despite her passing, Patsy Cline's memory and immense talent live on in the various songs and content she left behind. She may not have been able to accept the awards and honors herself but still, she gained many new accolades. In fact, there was an Oscar in the mix.

Image Credit: Getty Images / Alicia Dunfee, playing Louise Seger, acts during a performance of Always Patsy Cline on Thursday at the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse.

Image Credit: Getty Images / Alicia Dunfee, playing Louise Seger, acts during a performance of Always Patsy Cline on Thursday at the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse.

Her life story was portrayed in the 80s film, Sweet Dreams and it was this story that was an Oscar-nominated motion picture. Since then there has also been an array of documentaries and biographies written about the country legend that once was. She is dearly missed without a doubt!  

Image Credit: Getty Images / Shenandoah Memorial Park, burial site of legendary country singer Patsy Cline in her hometown, Winchester, Va.

Image Credit: Getty Images / Shenandoah Memorial Park, burial site of legendary country singer Patsy Cline in her hometown, Winchester, Va.


The Awards Never Stopped Rolling In 

She also posthumously gained the honor of a Grammy Lifetime Achievement award. In 1973 Patsy was also the first female solo singer to land herself a spot into the Country Music Hall of Fame. In addition, her song, "Crazy" has been rumored as the most played jukebox song ever!

Image Credit: Getty Images / Photo of Patsy Cline Posing In Black and White in 1970.

Image Credit: Getty Images / Photo of Patsy Cline Posing In Black and White in 1970.

Her biggest award however was being a daughter and a mother. She loved her family and the words of the iconic poet, Maya Angelou ring true. She said the following about Patsy: 

"It's wonderful that whenever her name is mentioned, people's voices fall and they become right sentimental. And, rightly so."

Image Credit: Getty Images / American Masters' speak onstage during the PBS portion of the 2017 Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour at Langham Hotel on January 15, 2017 in Pasadena, California.

Image Credit: Getty Images / American Masters' speak onstage during the PBS portion of the 2017 Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour at Langham Hotel on January 15, 2017 in Pasadena, California.


The Cline Family Memories 

When Cline passed away she left behind kids, Julie Symadore Fudge and Allen Randolph "Randy." While they did not take after their mom and her footsteps, they still admire their mother's significant reach. Julie has also helped establish a museum in honor of her mom! 

Image Credit: Getty Images / Stars dance during the final act of the Patsy Cline tribute at Disney Hall in Los Angeles May 07, 2011.

Image Credit: Getty Images / Stars dance during the final act of the Patsy Cline tribute at Disney Hall in Los Angeles May 07, 2011.

When she spoke with People Magazine, Julie shed some insight on her mom's legacy. She said:

"I do understand her position in history, and the history of Nashville and country music...I'm still kind of amazed at it myself, because there's 'Mom' and then there's 'Patsy Cline,' and I'm actually a fan."

Image Credit: Getty Images / Melissa Swift-Sawyer, playing Patsy Cline, sings during a performance of Always Patsy Cline on Thursday at the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse.

Image Credit: Getty Images / Melissa Swift-Sawyer, playing Patsy Cline, sings during a performance of Always Patsy Cline on Thursday at the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse.


Does The Star Have Any Grandchildren?

While there is little to no information about Patsy Cline's grandkids, she did have two. Cline's mother Hilda Hensley was said to have looked after them when the need arose. It is rumored that they reside in Virginia, the place that was so dear to their mother and grandmother. 

Image Credit: Getty Images / Melissa Swift-Sawyer, playing Patsy Cline, sings during a performance of Always Patsy Cline on Thursday at the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse.

Image Credit: Getty Images / Melissa Swift-Sawyer, playing Patsy Cline, sings during a performance of Always Patsy Cline on Thursday at the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse.

What a wonderful star Patsy Cline was. Her legacy is has stayed with the world for many decades and it isn't going anywhere soon. Her story of "rags to riches" really serves as an inspiration. What is your favorite Patsy Cline song? Leave your comments and click the share button! 

Sources: Biography Britannica U Discover Music Grunge Rolling Stone The Boot 

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