Reba McEntire Says Kenny Rogers 'Saved My Sanity' After 1991 Plane Crash

On March 16, 1991, seven members of Reba McEntire's band and her tour manager Jim Hammon were killed near San Diego, California, after their plane crashed into the side of a mountain. Seven months later, McEntire appeared in a November 1991 made-for-television movie, NBC's The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw, with Kenny Rogers.

During a recent chat with media, McEntire credited Rogers' invitation to work on the project as an important part of her healing process. "Kenny saved my sanity in '91 when he asked me to come do The Gambler movie," she said, via The Boot. "I was still in a state of disbelief and not knowing what I’m gonna do moving forward after the plane crash." The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw was the fourth of five movies based on Rogers' song "The Gambler." In the films, the late star played Brady Hawkes, and McEntire joined as Burgundy Jones.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Reba (@reba) on

"I miss him so much," McEntire added of Rogers. "He’s such a special person and a big-hearted giver." Rogers died in March of natural causes at age 81 and McEntire honored him at the time with a black-and-white photo of the pair on Instagram. "Kenny, Go rest high on that mountain," she wrote. "Please tell mama and daddy hi for me. Thank you for your friendship and your love. We are going to miss you but we are so happy you’re singing with the Angels in heaven. Can’t wait to see you again one of these days. Rest in peace my friend."

Just a few days prior, McEntire had remembered her late friends on the 29th anniversary of the plane crash. "29 years ago today, I lost my friends in a plane crash," she wrote on Instagram alongside a photo of the group. "The timing of Mama's passing with that anniversary seems appropriate. I know they're all in Heaven together and taking care of each other. Let's keep finding ways to take care of each other down here on earth and never take one moment with our loved ones for granted."

0comments
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Reba (@reba) on

Hammon, keyboardist and bandleader Kirk Cappello, fellow keyboardist Joey Cigainero, drummer Tony Saputo, guitarists Michael Thomas and Chris Austin, bassist Terry Jackson and backup singer Paula Kaye Evans, as well as the two pilots, Donald Holmes and Christopher Hollinger, all died in the crash.