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From Tremors to Young Sheldon: A History of Reba McEntire's Acting Roles

The Queen of Country and Coach on The Voice is also the queen of screens both big and small.

By Jessica White & Josh Weiss

After appearing as a Battle Advisor during on The Voice's very first season, as a Top 12 Mentor in Season 8, and as the Mega Mentor in Season 23, Reba McEntire claimed a Coaches chair of her own during Season 24 and will extend her red chair reign for Season 25 of the show.

How to Watch

Watch the Season 26 premiere of The Voice on Monday, September 23 at 8/7c on NBC and next day on Peacock. 

Known in many circles as the undisputed "Queen of Country," the chart-topping, Grammy Award-winning, Country Music Hall of Fame inductee is more than just a prolific musical artist. She's also an actress, entrepreneur, and philanthropist — a modern-day Renaissance woman, if you will.

RELATED: Reba McEntire and Carrie Underwood Did a Thrilling Live Duet of a Reba Classic

McEntire's taken on several classic acting roles in the realms of theater, film, and television and thus even for those unfamiliar with the sheer breadth of her music career may have spotted her in beloved projects like Tremors or on her self-titled sitcom.

Reba McEntire on Today.

What was Reba McEntire's first film role?

Horror fans could never forget McEntire's acting debut as the sharp-shooting Heather Gummer in the 1990 horror film Tremors. Gummer was a gun-toting resident of a small Nevada town terrorized by giant worm monsters called "Graboids." Kevin Bacon could have never gotten out of that mess without her! 

Reba McEntire Movies after Tremors: From North to Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar

Reba McEntire at a podium on stage accepting an award at the American Music Awards in 1993.

In 1994, McEntire continued to collect exciting film roles, starring in the dramedy North as Ma Tex and in The Little Rascals as A.J. Ferguson. McEntire's ability to bring country charm to the big screen was beloved by fans old and new and so, while simultaneously starring in several television projects, she went on to star in the 2001 comedy One Night at McCool's as Dr. Green.

McEntire has also taken her voice to the studio for several children's films, playing Dixie in the film The Fox and the Hound 2 and Betsy in the live-action film adaptation of Charlotte's Web in 2006. She also provided the voice of Etta in the 2016 animated film The Land Before Time XIV: Journey of the Brave and the voice of Joy Jenkins in the 2019 film Spies in Disguise.

McEntire proved through her beloved sitcom that she has wit for days — which lent itself perfectly for her role as Trish in the 2021 comedy Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar (from future Strays director Josh Greenbaum), starring alongside SNL star Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo.

Reba McEntire's TV Movies: From The Gambler to The Hammer

In her most recent television movie, Reba McEntire's The Hammer, McEntire played the newly appointed Judge of the 5th Judicial District of Nevada, Kim Wheeler. Inspired by Wheeler's real-life experience as one the last traveling circuit judges in the U.S., the 2023 television film is a gripping testament to McEntire's chameleonic talent. 

McEntire has starred in several other television films throughout her sprawling acting career, starting in 1991 when she starred in The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw. It was a fateful role considering that was when she first met her co-star and future partner, Rex Linn, whom she has dated since 2020, according to Entertainment Tonight.

RELATED: Reba McEntire Talks the "Pressure" of Coaching The Voice After Blake Shelton

McEntire has also starred in the television films The Man from Left Field (1993), Is There Life Out There? (1994), Forever Love (1998), Secret of Giving (1999), and the 2021 television movie Christmas in Tune.

What TV shows has Reba McEntire been in?

After kicking some Graboid booty in Tremors, McEntire went on to roles on several exciting television series.

In 1994, she appeared in NBC's Frasier as the voice of Rachel in Season 1, Episode 20 ("Fortysomething"). She then starred as Annie Oakley in the Buffalo Girls miniseries the following year.

She then starred in her own series, Reba (about which you can read more below), from 2001 through 2007.

McEntire has made many other television guest appearances, including her 2010 role as Lorraine Ashley in Better with You, her part as Renee in the 2011 sitcom Working Class, and her role as Charlotte in two episodes of Baby Daddy. 

McEntire was also recruited for several holiday specials, teaming up with country titan Blake Shelton for his 2012 special, Not So Family Christmas and fellow Voice alum Kelly Clarkson for 2013's Kelly Clarkson's Cautionary Christmas Music Tale.

From 2012 to 2013, McEntire had a starring role as the tongue-in-cheek Reba MacKenzie in Malibu Country, a sitcom following a country music star charting a new path in California after a nasty divorce.

In 2016, McEntire guest starred in the sitcom Last Man Standing and since 2020, has appeared in several episodes of the Big Bang Theory spin-off Young Sheldon as the hilarious hairstylist June Ballard. McEntire also snagged a main role as Sunny Barnes, a backcountry outfitter and the owner of Sunny Day Excursions, in the crime drama series Big Sky, which ran from 2020 to 2023. 

McEntire's television and film career is a reflection of how much audiences adore her in whatever role she takes on. She even portrayed Colonel Sanders during her finger-lickin' stint as a spokesperson for KFC in 2018.


Reba McEntire's Emmy-Nominated Sitcom Reba

Reba McEntire pointing her finger at Dolly Parton during a scene from Reba.

McEntire's self-titled sitcom, Reba ran for over 120 episodes across six seasons between 2001 and 2007. Created by Allison M. Gibson, the multi-camera series starred McEntire as a fictionalized, wisecracking version of herself.

The sitcom is famous for its viral theme song, "I'm a Survivor" (sung by Reba, of course), the lyrics of which — "A single mom who works two jobs / Who loves her kids and never stops / With gentle hands and the heart of a fighter" — mirror the everyday trials and tribulations of the show's main character.

Reba scored Primetime Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for her role in the series and took home a win at the 28th Annual People's Choice Awards, which named McEntire Favorite Female Performer in a New Television Series, according to Rolling Stone.

Reba McEntire's New NBC Comedy Series 

Reba McEntire on The Voice Episode 2418

Good news for Reba fans:  McEntire is returning to the sitcom world in a new comedy, coming soon to NBC. While a title and premiere date for the series has yet to be announced, hilarity is guaranteed on the horizon.

RELATED: Reba McEntire Is Returning to TV With a New NBC Comedy: Details

A logline for McEntire's new, multi-cam sitcom teases: "Reba inherits her father’s restaurant and is less than thrilled to discover that she has a new business partner in the half-sister she never knew she had."

What Broadway shows has Reba McEntire been in?

McEntire's talents took her to the world of theater in 2001 for a Broadway revival of Annie Get Your Gun

"Making her Broadway debut, Reba McEntire glides into the title role of Annie Get Your Gun like a seabird landing on water," gushed New York Times critic Brent Brantley in his review of the stage production. "Ms. McEntire has ... managed to put a highly personal, proprietary stamp on a role that the ghost of Ethel Merman has always dominated, creating the most disarmingly unaffected Annie in years."

Several years later, Reba took the stage at Carnegie Hall alongside Brian Stokes Mitchell, Jason Danieley, Lillias White, and 30 Rock star Alec Baldwin for a production of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific (based on James A. Michener's Pulitzer Prize-winning book of short stories, Tales of the South Pacific).

Ray Romano and Reba Mcentire attend the People Choice Awards in 1999

What to Know About Reba McEntire's Music Career

Reba McEntire performing on stage.

McEntire was instilled with a love of singing from a young age by her mother, Jackie, according to the Country Music Hall of Fame website. That passion led Reba to form a musical trio, the "Singing McEntires," with siblings Pake and Susie.

Her big break came in 1974 when country star Red Steagall heard her rendition of the national anthem at the National Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City. Steagall bankrolled Reba's first professional studio session, which led to an official record deal with Mercury Records a year later. The label released her first six albums — Reba McEntire, Out of a DreamFeel the FireHeart to HeartUnlimited, and Behind the Scene — between 1977 and 1983.

Reba McEntire smiling and posing for a portrait.

RELATED: Listen to All of Reba McEntire's Biggest Hits Before She Joined The Voice

McEntire ultimately grew frustrated with Mercury, whom she felt was trying to pigeonhole her into the genre of country-pop. She eventually signed with MCA Records in 1984.

Her relationship with MCA lasted for over two decades, yielding such acclaimed albums as My Kind of Country (1984), which went gold and nabbed McEntire the title of Female Vocalist of the Year at the Country Music Awards (she'd go on to win the accolade three more times).

Throughout the course of her extraordinary career, Reba has released over two dozen albums, which have collectively sold over 33 million copies. She's also been the recipient of three Grammys, 16 Academy of Country Music Awards, 15 American Music Awards, and nine People's Choice Awards. She was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2011 and honored by The Kennedy Center in 2018.

Originally published Sep 19, 2023.