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Mel Tillis (1932- )

Musician, Actor

Country music great Mel Tillis started his performing career in the early 1950's with a group called the Westerners while serving as a baker in the United States Air Force, stationed in Okinawa, Japan. In 1956, Webb Pierce's recording of Mel's song "I'm Tired" launched his musical career.

In 1976, Mel was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters International Hall of Fame, and that same year was named the Country Music Association's Entertainer of the Year. Mel's songs have been recorded by such artists as
Brenda Lee, Charley Pride and Ricky Skaggs, The Oak Ridge Boys, George Strait, and Kenny Rogers' version of "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town".

One of Mel's albums, entitled "Beyond the Sunset", received the Great Empire Broadcasting Album of the Year award in 1993. Now his most recent release, "Old Dogs", recorded with
Waylon Jennings, Jerry Reed, and Bobby Bare, has recently received a nomination by the CMA as Album of the Year for 1999.

Born in Tampa and raised in Pahokee, Florida, Mel has appeared in more than a dozen feature films including
"Every Which Way But Loose" with Clint Eastwood, "W.W. & The Dixie Dancekings", "Cannonball Run" I and II, and "Smokey and the Bandit II" with Burt Reynolds, and the lead with Roy Clark in "Uphill All the Way". Most recently Mel filmed "Bandit: Must Be Country" which is the first of four action comedies inspired by the blockbuster hit film "Smokey and the Bandit". He has starred in several television movies, among them "Murder in Music City" and "A Country Christmas Carol". Mel has also appeared on such television shows as 20/20, The Tonight Show, Music City Tonight, 60 Minutes, and countless others.

Awards

  • Music City News Country Comedian of the Year 1978
  • Music City News Country Comedian of the Year 1977
  • CMA Entertainer of the Year 1976
  • Music City News Country Comedian of the Year 1976
  • Music City News Country Comedian of the Year 1975
  • Music City News Country Comedian of the Year 1974
  • Music City News Country Comedian of the Year 1973