Remember When Kenny Rogers Made His Film Debut?
Kenny Rogers had acted in a long string of television movies, but he made his film debut on the big screen in 1982 in a now somewhat forgotten film called Six Pack.
Rogers was at the peak of his commercial success when he took on the role, coming off a run of hits that included "The Gambler," "Lady," "I Don't Need You" and "Through the Years." Rogers played the lead role in Six Pack of Brewster Baker, a down-on-his-luck race car driver who inadvertently ends up involved with a group of orphans. Through a series of misadventures he forms a bond with the kids, and by the end of the movie he finds love, the orphans find a home, and Baker makes a successful comeback as a racer.
Rogers was surrounded by a supporting cast for his film debut that included Diane Lane, Erin Gray, future Northern Exposure star Barry Corbin and a pre-Sixteen Candles Anthony Michael Hall, and the race scenes near the end of Six Pack were shot at real-life NASCAR raceways and featured cameos from a long list of NASCAR drivers appearing as themselves.
Six Pack was released on July 16, 1982, and grossed more than $20 million at the box office for Rogers' first film, and Rogers scored a No. 1 hit from the soundtrack with "Love Will Turn You Around."
As an interesting footnote to the movie, Six Pack spun off into a short-lived TV sitcom the following year, with a pre-Miami Vice Don Johnson in Rogers' role and also featuring Markie Post and a young Joaquin Phoenix, billed as Leaf Phoenix.
Rogers would go on to a long acting career, most notably in a franchise of made-for-TV movies based on "The Gambler." He died on March 20, 2020, at the age of 81 at his Atlanta-area home, surrounded by his family. According to a statement, Rogers died of natural causes.
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