Sissy Spacek, who won an Oscar for her indelible portrayal of Loretta Lynn in the 1980 biopic Coal Miner’s Daughter, is remembering the late icon as a “resilient country music pioneer” who became a lifelong friend.
“Today is a sad day,” said Spacek in a statement provided to Deadline. “The world lost a magnificent human being. Loretta Lynn was a great artist, a strong and resilient country music pioneer and a precious friend. I am heartbroken. I send my deepest sympathies to her wonderful family, her friends, and her loyal fans.”
Spacek was handpicked by Lynn to portray her in what would become an acclaimed screen adaptation of the country superstar’s 1976 biography of the same name. Spacek has often told the story about how Lynn chose the actress based on a photograph. Spacek has recounted how she was at first hesitant to take on the demanding role, until the decision was made for her: Lynn, appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, said, without the actress’ go-ahead, “Sissy Spacek is going to play me.”
In her own memoir, the 2012 book My Extraordinary Ordinary Life, Spacek details how she worked with Lynn to nail her Appalachian accent, singing style and speech patterns. Lynn encouraged Spacek to sing in the film, rather than lip-sync, and assisted the actress in emulating Lynn’s guitar-playing style.