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- Patsy Cline rose to fame with songs like “Walkin’ After Midnight” and “Crazy.”
- After two near-death experiences, the country music star died in a plane crash at 30 years old with fellow country artists Hawkshaw Hawkins and Cowboy Copas.
- Fifty-six years later, her life, legacy, and friendship with Loretta Lynn is explored in Lifetime’s Patsy & Loretta.
It’s hard to believe that Patsy Cline became the “most popular female country singer in recording history” before even turning 30 years old. In just a six-year timespan, the country music legend released hits like “Walkin’ After Midnight” and “Crazy,” eventually earning her a well-deserved spot in the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Her incredible life, which is the focus of Lifetime’s Patsy & Loretta airing Saturday, October 21 at 8 p.m., was riddled with pain and hardship. At the peak of her career, the 28-year-old was involved in a nearly tragic car accident with her brother Sam Hensley, Jr. As a result, Cline spent many months in the hospital and underwent major facial reconstruction surgery, leaving fans to think that this was the end of her journey as a country music star. To their surprise, Cline returned to the Grand Ole Opry stage later that year, proving that her career was still alive and well.
In fact, it was better than ever. While on stage, she thanked fans for their constant support and assured them that she was here to stay: “I’ll tell you one thing: the greatest gift, I think, that you folks coulda given me was the encouragement that you gave me. Right at the very time I needed you the most, you came through with the flying-est colors. And I just want to say you’ll just never know how happy you made this ol’ country gal.”
Soon, everything changed: On March 3, 1963, Cline was killed in a plane crash along with fellow country artists Hawkshaw Hawkins and Cowboy Copas while returning home from a string of benefit concerts for DJ Jack “Cactus” Call’s family at Kansas City’s Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall. She reportedly knew about the bad weather conditions, and even refused fellow country music star Dottie West’s offer to return to Nashville via car: “Don’t worry about me, Hoss. When it’s my time to go, it’s my time to go,” she said.
The plane, which her manager Randy Huges was piloting, took a pit stop in Dyersburg, Tennessee around 6 p.m. to refuel. Soon after, a witness reported the sound of a low-flying aircraft, and by 6:29 p.m. the plane had crashed near Camden, Tennessee. To this day, the cause of the crash is the pilot’s inexperience paired with poor flying conditions.
Cline, who was just 30 years old at the time, was survived by her husband, Charlie Dick, and her two children, Julie and Randy, who were four and two, respectively.
After her death, close friends June Carter Cash and Loretta Lynn commented in the 1993 documentary Remembering Patsy that the country star often made remarks about her impending death. “It’s wonderful—but what do I do for ’63? It’s getting so even Cline can’t follow Cline,” she reportedly wrote in a letter to a friend. Just a week before the plane crash that took her life, she reportedly told singer Ray Walker that she walks a fine line of life and death: “Honey, I’ve had two bad ones [accidents]. The third one will either be a charm or it’ll kill me.”
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