Fran Boyd, Longtime Academy of Country Music Executive Director, Dies at 84

Fran Boyd, former executive director of the Academy of Country Music, died March 9 at 84.

Boyd played a key role in shaping and advancing the ACM from its early years in California in the late 1960s, through the start of the millennium.

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Boyd joined the ACM as an executive secretary in 1968, as the organization’s first paid employee. She rose through the ranks over the years; in 1995, following the passing of her husband Bill, who himself led the Academy, Fran was named executive director. Boyd oversaw year-round operations and also served as talent producer for the ACM Awards, and oversaw nearly every aspect of the annual awards presentation.

The ACM Awards’ signature “hat” trophy was created the same year Boyd joined the ACM. Among the winners that year were Glen Campbell, Lynn Anderson and Bobbie Gentry.

During her tenure, Boyd saw the organization open its first office in Hollywood, and rebrand its name from the Academy of Country and Western Music to the Academy of Country Music in the 1970s. During her time at the ACM, the organization also moved the awards show to major California venues including Disneyland, Universal Amphitheatre and Knott’s Berry Farm.

Boyd retired from the ACM in 2002, after more than three decades of service. She said at the time, “I continue to be proud of all the Academy of Country Music has accomplished in my time. It has given me great joy to see so many young country artists rise from newcomers to having great careers. The Academy has helped music fans acknowledge country music as the enduring genre it deserves to be.”

“Her tireless work and years of dedication to this organization, the country music industry and its artists cannot be overstated, and her legacy with the Academy will forever live on,” Damon Whiteside, CEO of the Academy of Country Music, said in a statement.

“Fran Boyd played an essential part in the Academy’s history, stretching way back to the earliest days in the 1960s and steering the ship through decades of change, innovation, and growth, all while fostering an incredible passion for country music,” added Gayle Holcomb, ACM Board Sergeant-At-Arms and longtime board member. “Fran will always be remembered as a champion for our industry, its artists, and this organization. On behalf of the ACM Officers and Board of Directors, I send our gratitude, prayers, and condolences to the Boyd family.”

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Alive Hospice Nashville or the Alzheimer’s Association in Boyd’s honor.

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