8 Things You Should Know About Patsy Cline

On March 4th, 'American Masters' presents a documentary on legendary country singer Patsy Cline.
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Patsy Cline Photo

Country legend Patsy Cline, circa 1958.

Famous for her song "Crazy" and "I Fall to Pieces," Patsy Cline defined modern country music and was a trailblazer for women in her industry. Despite her personal struggles, her hard work ethic eventually catapulted her to fame, but her life was cut short on March 5, 1963 when she died in a plane crash at the age of 30.

Patsy Cline: American Masters reveals the many ways the daring country singer made a cultural impact as part of the 1950s/60s Nashville sound and how she fought for equal treatment and respect from her famous male Nashville peers.

As a complement to the film, we take a look at eight facts you may not have known about this country icon.

1. Although the song brought her national fame in 1957, Cline didn't care much for "Walkin After Midnight," deeming it "an old pop song."

2. Cline also didn't care much for fidelity. She cheated on her husband with her manager Bill Peer and later ended up cheating on Peer with a linotype operator named Charlie Dick, whom she'd marry in 1957.

3. Cline knocked on death's door multiple times in her life. At 13, she was sent to the hospital for rheumatic fever. After she recovered, she claimed she emerged with a new deep, bold voice. In 1961 — just a year before she was killed in a plane crash in Tennessee — she was in a horrible car crash that kept her in the hospital for a month.

4. Cline was on crutches (from her car crash) while recording "Crazy," which was penned by Willie Nelson.

5. Cline wouldn't perform until she received payment first. "No dough, no show" would be her mantra.

Patsy Cline

Patsy Cline's singular style and female swagger bucked conventions of the 1950s.

6. Cline became the first female country singer to perform at Carnegie Hall.

7. Cline also became the first female country singer to headline in Vegas.

8. Cline's avid fans have marked her death site in Tennessee with a mailbox so that admirers can leave letters for her.