Country Music Hall of Fame member Lefty Frizzell will be the focus of both a new documentary and new biopic, according to Deadline.
Extrovert Entertainment announced the deal in partnership with Frizzell’s family.
“Lefty is often referred to as the original Elvis, from the way he moved on stage, his legendary stage clothes, and how his good looks and voice made women swoon but beyond his talent is a fascinating story worthy of both a documentary and biopic,” said M. Douglas Silverstein, founder of Extrovert Entertainment, who will direct and produce the documentary. “I’m thrilled to be working directly with the Frizzells to show the world the full legacy of Lefty Frizzell. From the man, the many myths, and the wonderful music he created!”
Both the documentary and biopic have the potential to be enlightening for a score of country music fans who may not be aware of Lefty’s impact on the genre. However, Lefty had a complicated past, to say the least.
Lefty, 19, spent six months in a New Mexico jail in 1947 for statutory rape. He also developed a debilitating alcohol problem. Lefty, 47, died in 1975 after suffering a stroke.
However, the honky-tonker became a huge country star in the early 1950s. Known for his note-bending style, he’s one of the few artists who could compete on the charts with Hank Williams, who died in 1953.
Lefty rose to stardom in 1950 with his No. 1 debut single, “If You’ve Got the Money (I’ve Got the Time).” A handful of chart-toppers followed in the early ’50s, including “I Love You a Thousand Ways,” “I Want to Be With You Always,” “Always Late (With Your Kisses),” and “Give Me More, More, More (Of Your Kisses).”
While in prison in 1947, he penned several songs for his wife, including the aforementioned “I Love You a Thousand Ways.”
Lefty joined the Grand Ole Opry in July 1951, and was also an in-demand performer on Louisiana Hayride. In 1953, he moved from Texas to L.A to join the cast of the Town Hall Party TV show.
While Lefty could never match his success in the early ’50s, he did score another chart-topper in 1964 with “Saginaw, Michigan.”
Lefty’s music had a profound impact on a cache of legends who came after him. Lefty is credited with inspiring the likes of George Jones, Willie Nelson, Randy Travis, Keith Whitley, and many more. Most notably, Merle Haggard called Lefty “the most unique thing that ever happened to country music.”
Lefty was added to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1972. The Country Music Hall of Fame posthumously elected Lefty in 1982.