Kenny Rogers Said Gun Scenes in ‘The Gambler’ Movie Bothered Him

Kenny Rogers is best known for singing the hit song “The Gambler.” Here’s what Rogers said about The Gambler movie and how the gun scenes made him uncomfortable.

Kenny Rogers and ‘The Gambler’

Kenny Rogers | Paul Natkin/Getty Images
Kenny Rogers | Paul Natkin/Getty Images

Rogers played the character Brady Hawkes in a series of TV movies based on his hit song “The Gambler.” He appeared in the series from the first installment in 1980 until the final one in 1994 (titled Gambler V: Playing for Keeps).

In his book Luck or Something Like It, Rogers said “The Gambler” was the song that defined him. “Every artist prays for that one song that defines them when the public hears it,” wrote Rogers. “‘The Gambler’ was mine. If ‘Lucille’ launched this rocket, and my work with Dottie helped fuel it, ‘The Gambler’ sent it even higher.”

Kenny Rogers’ failed attempt at hunting with his grandfather

Rogers was around guns from the time he was a young boy. He said he tried to impress his grandfather one day by going hunting with him. His grandfather invited him to go hunting for squirrels, but things didn’t end the way he expected. When it was his turn to shoot a squirrel, he froze.

Rogers’ grandfather summoned him to “get some dinner,” and he knew that meant it was time to go hunting. “I quickly aimed and wrapped my finger around the trigger,” wrote Rogers. “The squirrel looked up, froze in place—and so did I. I couldn’t do it.” Here’s how Rogers described that day with his grandfather:

There was no way I could shoot an animal. It wasn’t that I had anything against hunting or that I didn’t love the taste of meat with my meals. It was just that I couldn’t do the shooting myself. My grandfather grabbed his gun, shot the squirrel, and headed back, just that quickly. He was clearly disappointed in me, and I knew it.

Kenny Rogers, ‘Luck or Something Like It’

Gun scenes in ‘The Gambler’ movie made Kenny Rogers uncomfortable

Rogers said he remained uncomfortable around guns even as an adult. He experienced a mishap with a gun one day when his brother accidentally shot a gun inside his home. And years later, Rogers says he was bothered by the gun scenes in The Gambler movie.

Even to this day, I’m not much of a hunter and I’ve never felt comfortable around guns. The only gun I ever remember owning was a .22-caliber rifle. When my first wife, Janice, and I were married, I ended up with that gun, though I have no idea where I got it. My brother Billy, who was probably 14 or 15 at the time, came to spend the day at our house while I went to work.

While he was sitting in our living room holding this gun, it accidentally fired, glancing off the top of the coffee table and lodging itself in our neighbor’s house across the street. Billy was too young to see the danger. He was really worried about having scratched the coffee table.

Kenny Rogers, ‘Luck or Something Like It’

Rogers said his discomfort around guns followed him well into his career. He had to do gun scenes in The Gambler movies, but he wasn’t at ease with the situation. “Later in my career, I had to do a number of gun scenes in the Gambler movies,” wrote Rogers. “Even though I knew the rounds were blanks, it still bothered me.”

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