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Country music’s Louise Scruggs dies

Bucked male-dominated industry by serving as husband’s manager
/ Source: Reuters

Louise Scruggs, who bucked the male-dominated country music industry by managing her banjo-playing husband, Earl Scruggs, has died, hospital officials said Friday.

Scruggs, 78, died Thursday at Baptist Hospital in Nashville from complications of a respiratory illness, a hospital spokesman said.

Often described by her husband as “99 percent of my career,” she was the first female manager in country music, helping him become a star in bluegrass music with long-time partner Lester Flatt, then cross over into folk, rock-pop and other genres.

She booked his performances, accompanied him to shows, handled the business side of his contracts and promoted his music to television and films. She also raised their three sons.

Earl Scruggs provided the theme song for television’s “The Beverly Hillbillies” and the background music for the 1972 movie “Deliverance.” His “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” was used on the soundtrack for the 1967 film “Bonnie and Clyde.”

Scruggs met her husband on the Grand Ole Opry country music radio program where he was playing with Bill Monroe’s band and developing his revolutionary, hard-driving “three finger” style on the banjo.

They were married in 1948 and she doggedly ran her husband’s career in an industry she called sexist.

“You have to remember, male businessmen were all sexist,” she once told Reuters in an interview. “Earl told me not to worry because they were just afraid of me. So I went on letting them be afraid and when they found they had to deal with me to get to him, they gave up.”