Brenda Lee — Her Life And Career


FAMILY BACKGROUND
Brenda was born Brenda Mae Tarpley on December 11, 1944 in the charity ward of Grady Memorial Hospital (part of Emory University Hospital complex) in Atlanta, Georgia. Her mother, Grayce Yarbrough Tarpley Rainwater, today resides in Lithonia, Georgia. Her father, Ruben Lindsey Tarpley, was a carpenter and semi-professional baseball player. He was killed in a construction accident in May 1953. Brenda has two sisters and a brother. Her sisters Linda (born in 1942) and Robyn (born in 1955) and her brother Randall (born in 1949) still live in Georgia.

Brenda attended several grade schools, mostly in Georgia. She attended Maplewood High School in Nashville, Tennessee and graduated from Hollywood Professional School in California on June 12, 1963.

During a Jackie Wilson concert at the old Fairgrounds Coliseum in Nashville, Tennessee, Brenda met her future husband, Ronnie (born May 12, 1944). They were married on April 24, 1963 at Radnor Church of Christ in Nashville, Tennessee.

Brenda and Ronnie have two daughters, Julie and Jolie, and two granddaughters. Julie was born in 1964 and was married in October 1986. Jolie was born in 1969 and married in January 1993. Both granddaughters were born on November 12 - one in 1988 and the other in 1996.


FIRSTS FOR BRENDA
• FIRST SONG LEARNED
A tearful ballad "My Daddy is Only a Picture" (a song recorded by Eddy Arnold in 1948).

• FIRST PUBLIC APPEARANCE (1950)
At the age of 5 Brenda represented...

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