In “Rhinestone Cowboy,” Glen Campbell’s 1975 hit about the long road to fame and its demands, the country superstar croons about “getting cards and letters from people I don’t even know.” According to someone who knew him better than most — eldest daughter Debby Campbell — Glen got a lot of those! He also adored his audience as much as they did him. “He was always humbled by the love they gave him,” Debby, 66, exclusively tells Closer. “And he treated them like real people, not just fans idolizing an entertainer.”

Debby is one of her father’s biggest fans, too, but she also got to sing alongside the iconic “Wichita Lineman” performer on tour. “I traveled all over the world with him for 24 years as his duet partner,” she explains, “and I was so blessed to do that as it enabled us to spend so much quality time together.”

Her 2014 book Burning Bridges: Life With My Father Glen Campbell is filled with many sweet memories of her dad, who grew up humbly as one of 12 kids on an Arkansas farm (“It’s a lot easier to work with a guitar than work with a mule!” Glen once joked) before achieving success in music, on television and in films. She also documents the struggles she witnessed firsthand as Glen bravely battled drug and alcohol problems, as well as his 2011 Alzheimer’s diagnosis, which led to his death at 81 in 2017.

Debby still marvels at everything her father had to overcome. “The most difficult thing about being his daughter was [realizing] the business aspect of all the people that were around him trying to control where he went and what he did,” she notes. “I watched [2022’s] Elvis and cried through most of the movie. It reminded me so much of what was going on in my dad’s world.”

Audiences will get to watch Debby’s own recollections come to life, as producer Lisa Saltzman is turning her memoir of life with Glen into a movie. “[Saltzman] loves the story of how a child could find a best friend relationship with her father through all the ups-and-downs of the entertainment business, and I’ll definitely have a lot of say in how my father is portrayed,” Debby promises, adding that her dad’s biggest joy was “being surrounded by all his siblings, kids and grandkids [while] visiting Arkansas in the summer. He was a very kind, generous man who loved his family very much.”


Debby is eternally grateful for the precious time they had together. “The greatest lessons I learned from my dad were to be a nice person, to allow people to be who they are. Definitely to not be a snob. He was very down-to-earth,” she says, adding that one of her favorite memories was playing cards with him while on the road. “We spent countless hours playing gin for a penny a game!”

Today, she’s keeping Glen’s legacy alive. “I’m doing tribute shows, and anytime someone needs me to come and sing for an Alzheimer’s event, I’m more than happy to do that,” she says. Debby would also like to see her father’s contributions to popular music recognized more fully. “My goal is to get my dad inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame—which he surely deserves!” And though she admits she misses Glen dearly, the memory of his love and his music forever keeps him gentle on her mind. “There’s always a song or someone reminding me of him every single day,” she shares.