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Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame

The Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) was created to honor Arkansans who have made outstanding contributions to the entertainment industry. Honorees include performers, non-performing contributors (such as writers, directors, and producers), and pioneers in the entertainment industry.

In 1985, the Arkansas General Assembly authorized the establishment of a museum honoring Arkansans who have made a considerable contribution to the entertainment industry. The first inductees were honored in 1996. The following year, the state legislature transferred the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame to the Department of Parks and Tourism, along with $300,000. Several cities competed to host the museum. Pine Bluff was eventually chosen, with the Pine Bluff Convention and Visitors Bureau receiving $250,000 to establish the Hall of Fame. On October 2, 1998, the Hall of Fame opened with a permanent home in the Pine Bluff Convention Center.

The board of the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame selects honorees for induction, with nominations coming from the artists themselves or from other individuals. After a review of applications to determine if the nominee meets the basic criteria of Arkansas connection and national significance, among other factors, the nominations are held until the board’s annual meeting, at which time they are voted upon. Board members are appointed by the governor, and the board now holds an induction ceremony every two years.

A life-size animatronic statue of Johnny Cash greets visitors with some of the most popular songs of his career. Many other well-known Arkansas entertainers, both performing and non-performing, who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame have contributed artifacts to the exhibits that represent their achievements. For example, the museum houses Bob Burns’s “bazooka” as well as the musical instruments and clothing of other performers.

Among the inductees into the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame are radio personalities Chet Lauck and Norris Goff (“Lum and Abner”); musical talents Al Green, the Browns, Patsy Montana, Levon Helm, "Lefty" Frizzell, and Jimmy Driftwood; singer/songwriter and television and motion picture actor Ed Bruce; composer William Grant Still; orchestra conductor Sarah Caldwell; jazz pianist Walter Norris; opera singer Barbara Hendricks; Broadway and motion picture performer William Warfield; gospel songwriter Albert E. Brumley; movie actors “Broncho Billy” Anderson, Julie Adams, Mary Steenburgen, Billy Bob Thornton, Dick Powell, and Alan Ladd; entertainment promoter Jim Porter; author John Grisham; screenwriter James Bridges; motion picture sound and camera lens inventor Freeman Owens; television producer and director Harry Z. Thomason; Broadway producer Elizabeth Williams; and Broadway musical performer Lawrence Hamilton.

Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame Inductees

 

1996

Glen Campbell

Billstown/Delight

 

Johnny Cash

Kingsland

 

Jimmy Driftwood

Timbo

 

Randy Goodrum

Hot Springs

 

Al Green

Forrest City

 

Wayland Holyfield

Mallet Town

 

Alan Ladd

Hot Springs

 

Tracy Lawrence

Foreman

 

Lum and Abner
(Chet Lauck and Norris Goff)

Mena

 

 

Art Porter Sr.

Little Rock

 

Patsy Montana

Beaudry

 

Dick Powell

Mountain View

 

Charlie Rich

Colt

 

Mary Steenburgen

Newport

 

Harry Thomason

Hampton

 

Billy Bob Thornton

Hot Springs

 

 

 

1998

Bob Burns

Greenwood

 

The Browns

Sparkman

 

Melvin Endsley

Drasco

 

Jim Ed Brown

Sparkman/Pine Bluff

 

Levon Helm

Turkey Scratch

 

Bonnie Brown

Sparkman/Pine Bluff

 

Floyd Cramer

Huttig

 

Maxine Brown

Sampti, LA/Pine Bluff

 

Louis Jordan

Brinkley

 

Mark Wright

Fayetteville

 

Jerry Van Dyke

Benton

 

Conway Twitty

Helena

 

 

 

2000

Julie Adams

Little Rock

 

K. T. Oslin

Crossett

 

James (Jim) Bridges

Paris

 

Sarah Caldwell

Fayetteville

 

Skeets McDonald

Rector

 

Art Porter Jr.

Little Rock

 

Broncho Billy Anderson

Pine Bluff

 

Pharoah Sanders

Little Rock

 

William Warfield

Helena

 

Twila Paris

Springdale

 

 

 

2002/2003

Ronnie Dunn

El Dorado

 

Barbara Hendricks

Stephens

 

John Grisham

Jonesboro

 

William Grant Still

Little Rock

 

Steve Stephens

Newport

 

Freeman H. Owens

Pine Bluff

 

Walter Norris

Little Rock

 

 

 

2005

Collin Raye

De Queen

 

John Michael Talbot

Little Rock/Eureka Springs

 

Ed Bruce

Keiser

 

Elizabeth Williams

Arkadelphia

 

Jim Porter

Little Rock

 

Lefty Frizzell

El Dorado

 

Lawrence Hamilton

Foreman

 

John Weston

Brinkley/Smale

 

Albert Brumley

Hartford Music Institute

 

 

 

2007

Beth Brickell

Camden

 

Gil Gerard

Little Rock

 

Laurence Luckinbill

Fort Smith

 

Gail Davis

McGehee

 

BJ Sams

Little Rock

 

Jack Mitchell

Bella Vista

 

Sonny Burgess

Newport

 

Sarah Tackett

Conway

 

 

 

2008

Tess Harper

Mammoth Springs

 

Ronnie Hawkins

Huntsville/Fayetteville

 

Wayne Jackson

West Memphis

 

Joe Nichols

Rogers

 

Wilburn Brothers

Hardy

 

Sonny Boy Williamson

Helena

 

Ed Wilson

Rison

 

 

 

2010

Kris Allen

Conway

 

Lisa Blount

Fayetteville

 

Jim “Moose” Brown

Jonesboro

 

Barbara Fairchild

Knobel

 

Albert King

Forrest City

 

George Newbern

Little Rock

 

Mark Stallings

McCrory

 

Jerry McKinnis

Flippin

 

Charles B. Pierce

Hampton

 

2013

Gary Weir

North Little Rock

 

Bill Carter

Rector

 

Louie Shelton

North Little Rock

 

Rosetta Nubin Tharpe

Cotton Plant

 

Mike Utley

Blytheville

 
 

For additional information:

Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame. http://www.arkansasentertainershalloffame.com/ (accessed February 8, 2013).

Cofer, Brian. “Hall of Fame for Entertainers Opens Friday.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, September 27, 1998, pp. 1B, 8B.

Pine Bluff Convention and Visitors Bureau. http://www.pinebluffcvb.org/ (accessed February 8, 2013).

Slivka, Judd. “Pine Bluff Panel’s Pick to House Hall of State Stars.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, February 18, 1997, pp. 1B, 8B.

Bob Purvis
Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Staff of the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture

 

Last Updated 7/25/2013

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