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Kenny Rogers’ Most Famous Roles, From ‘Six Pack’ to ‘The Gambler’ and More: Your Complete Guide

From almost the time that music and film first began co-existing, there have been singers who have dreamt of making the leap from one medium to another. And while a lot of them have tried, relatively few have been really successful at it and enjoyed any sort of sustained popularity doing so. But Kenny Rogers, who passed away on March 20 at the age of 81, was one of them.

Make no mistake about it: despite the fact that his TV movies were reportedly viewed by over a hundred million people, acting never really replaced music in his heart and it certainly wasn’t what allowed him to connect with the audience. But what it did do, was provide his fans with another facet of him to enjoy — although even Kenny himself recognized his own limitations as an actor.

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“I’ve always felt that there are actors and there are people who can act,” he reflected to “And I’m not an actor. You give an actor unbelievable dialogue and they can make it believable. You give me believable dialogue and I can keep it believable. There’s a lot of people who can’t do that. But I’ve just become convinced that I’m really good at playing me in different clothes.” And it wouldn’t surprise us in the least if that humility on his part went a long way in explaining his popularity as a television performer.

Although Kenny attempted to get a movie career going for himself in 1982 with the film Six Pack, it was really on TV where he found acceptance. That was proven two years earlier when he starred in the CBS movie Kenny Rogers as The Gambler, which introduced him to the television drama world as Old West gambler Brady Hawkes, a role he would reprise four times over the years in between other parts. Those films are, of course inspired by his song “The Gambler,” which remains one of his most popular.

“I think it’s the bridge, the hook,” he suggested to regarding the song’s enduring nature. “You know, ‘You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em,’ that’s what musically gets people in. But it’s really not about gambling — it’s about a way of life. You’ve got to know when to do things and know when to not do them and when to run away from somethings. I don’t know if people go that deep into the thought process, so I’ll have to say I think it’s the sing-along part. People love doing that.”

As part of our celebration of Kenny Rogers’ memory, we’ve pulled together this guide to his different films and roles. Just another way of remembering the magic of Kenny as a performer.

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