Singer Bobbie Gentry

Celebrity Q&A, People
on May 11, 2008

Please tell about Bobbie Gentry and what she's doing. I loved her singing.
—Bill Woelkers, Scranton, Pa.

Raised in Mississippi poverty, sultry-voiced Bobbie Gentry became a sensation with her hit single "Ode to Billie Joe" in 1967. She went on to win three Grammy Awards, host her own network television series and marry—and divorce—three times. (Her ex-husbands include Las Vegas hotel magnate Bill Harrah and singer-songwriter Jim Stafford.) Born Roberta Lee Streeter, she changed her name to Bobbie Gentry after seeing the 1952 movie Ruby Gentry, about a sexpot who stirs up a small-town scandal. Now 63 and retired from performing for almost 30 years, she lives out of the spotlight in Los Angeles.