Kenny Rogers had one of the most successful public careers of any entertainer of his generation, and much of his life played out in the public eye, but there are still a number of things even some of his biggest fans probably don't know about the country and pop music icon.

Rogers lived a colorful life, and he lived it well, making the most of the success that he had earned after a difficult childhood. He had a number of high-profile friends from across the entertainment spectrum, so his social life was star-studded, while Rogers' professional life saw him try his hand at everything from acting to photography to writing, finding success in every field that he touched.

Musically, Rogers was just as restless. The early, less celebrated years of his career encompassed folk and jazz before finding his first big success in rock music as a member of the First Edition. And though it was country music that launched Rogers to solo superstardom, he never lost his thirst for musical variety, straddling the country and pop genres frequently in his career and even making a run at gospel.

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Rogers died on Friday (March 20) at the age of 81, and the tributes that came pouring in spoke volumes not only about his impact as an entertainer, but as a friend to many. But even as well as fans think they know the beloved Gambler, even the biggest Kenny Rogers fan will be fascinated by some of the facts they don't know about a true musical legend.

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