Country Singer — Dolly Parton

Dolly Rebecca Parton (born January 19, 1946) is an American singer-songwriter, author, multi-instrumentalist, actress and philanthropist, best known for her work in country music.

In the four-and-a-half decades since her national-chart debut, she remains one of the most successful female artists in the history of the country genre which garnered her the title of ‘The Queen of Country Music’ with twenty-five number-one singles, forty-one top-10 record and country albums. She has the distinction of having performed on a top-five country hit in each of the last five decades and is tied with Reba McEntire as the only country music artists with no. 1 singles in four consecutive decades.

She is known for her distinctive soprano, sometimes bawdy humour, flamboyant dress sense and voluptuous figure.


* 1 Early years

o 1.1 Career discovery

o 1.2 Marriage

* 2 Music career

o 2.1 1967-1976: Country-music success

o 2.2 1977-1986: Branching out into pop music

o 2.3 1987–1994: Return to country roots

o 2.4 Since 1995: career today

* 3 In concert and on tour

o 3.1 Dollywood Foundation Shows

o 3.2 Halos & Horns Tour

o Hello, I’m Dolly Tour 3.3

o 3.4 The Vintage Tour

o 3.5 European Tour 2007

o 3.6 Backwoods Barbie Tour

* 4 Forebear

o 4.1 Compositions in films and television and covers

o 4.2 American Idol appearance

o 4.3 9 to 5: The Musical

o 4.4 Musician

* 5 Acting career

o 5.1 Film

o 5.2 Television

* 6 Businesses

o 6.1 The Dollywood Company

o 6.2 Film and television production company

o 6.3 Other businesses

* 7 Philanthropic efforts

o 7.1 Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

o 7.2 Other philanthropy

* 8 Awards and honors

o 8.1 Philanthropy-related honors

* 9 Image

* 10 Discography

* 11 Filmography

* 12 See also

* 13 References

* 14 Bibliography

* 15 Further reading

* 16 External links

Early years

Childhood Dolly Parton was born in Sevierville, Tennessee, the fourth of twelve children born:

* Willadeene Parton (b. March 24, 1940)

* David Wilburn Parton (b. March 30, 1942)

* Coy Denver Parton (b. August 16, 1943), who named his first daughter Christina Dolly Parton

* Dolly Rebecca Parton (b. January 19, 1946)

* Robert Lee “Bobby” Parton Jr. (b. February 18, 1948)

* Stella Mae Parton, (to singer, b. May 4, 1949)

* Cassie Nan Parton (to singer, b. February 12, 1951)

* Randel Huston “Randy” Parton (to singer and businessman, b. December 15, 1953)

* Larry Gerald Parton (b. July 6, 1955, d. July 6, 1955)

* Floyd Parton (a singer-songwriter) and Freida Estelle Parton (a singer) – twins (b. June 1, 1957)

* Rachel Ann Parton (an actress, b. August 31, 1959)

Her family was, as she described them, “dirt poor”.She described her family’s shortness of money in a number of her early songs, notably “Coat of Many Colors” which happens to be her favorite, still today, to sing over all of others, and her “in the Good Old Days (When Times Were Bad)”. They lived in a rustic, dilapidated one-room cabin in Locust Ridge, Tennessee, to hamlet just north of the Green Valley brier in the Great Smoky Mountains of Sevier County to predominantly Pentecostal area. She is best friends with Billy Ray Cyrus and Dolly is the Godmother of his daughter Miley Cyrus. Music formed a major part of her early church experience. Eleven She told an interviewer that her grandfather was a Pentecostal “holy roller” preacher.Today, when appearing in live concerts, she frequently MDGs spiritual songs.

Career discovery

Parton began performing as a child, singing on local radio and television programs in the East Tennessee area. By age nine, she was appearing on The Cas Walker Show on both WIVK Radio and WBIR-TV in Knoxville, Tennessee. At thirteen, she was on a small Louisiana recording label, Gold band Records, and appeared at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee. It was at the Opry where she first met Johnny Cash who encouraged her to go where her heart took her, and not to care what others thought. The day after she graduated from high school in 1964, Parton moved to Nashville taking many traditional elements of folklore and popular music from East Tennessee with her.

Parton’s initial success came as a songwriter, writing two top ten hits with her uncle Bill Owens, Bill Phillips’s “Put it Off Until Tomorrow” and Skeeter Davis’ 1967 hit “fuel to the Flame”. She also wrote to minor chart hit for Hank Williams Jr. during this period. She had signed with Monument Records in late 1965, where she was initially pitched as a bubblegum pop singer, earning only one single national chart, Happy, Happy Birthday Baby, which did not crack the Billboard Hot 100.

The label agreed to have Parton sing country music after her composition, “Put It Off Until Tomorrow,” as recorded by Bill Phillips (and with Parton, uncredited, on harmony), went to number six on the country-music charts in 1966. Her first single country “Dumb Blonde” (one of the few songs during this was that she recorded but did not write), reached number twenty-four on the country-music charts in 1967, followed the same year with “Something Fishy,” which went to number eighteen. The two songs anchored her first full-length album, Hello, I’m Dolly.


On May 30, 1966, she and Carl Thomas Dean were married in Ringgold, Georgia. She had met Dean at the post-Washy Laundromat two years earlier on her first day in Nashville. His very first words to her were: “Y’all gonna get sunburnt out there, little lady.”

Dean, who runs an asphalt road surface paving business in Nashville, you’ve always shunned publicity and rarely accompanies her to any events. According to Parton, I’ve only ever seen her perform eleven. However, she has also commented in interviews that, although it appears they do not spend much time together, it is simply that nobody sees him. She has also commented on Dean’s romantic side claiming that I will often do things to surprise her, sometimes even writes her poems and spontaneous.

The couple partly raised several of Parton’s younger siblings at their home in Nashville, leading her nieces and nephews to refer to her as “Aunt Granny”; She has no children of her own.

The couple are also the sole guardian of a family friend’s are, whose parents died within two years of each other, though in keeping with the very private nature of the family, not much is known.

Music career

1967-1976: Country-music success

In 1967, country music entertainer Porter Wagoner Parton invited to join his organization, offering her the chance to become a regular on his weekly syndicated – television program The Porter Wagoner Show, and also to become a part of his road show.

Initially, much of Wagoner’s audience was unhappy that Norma Jean, the performer whom Parton had replaced, had left the show, and was reluctant to accept Parton (sometimes chanting loudly for Norma Jean from the audience) but with Wagoner’s assistance, she was eventually accepted. Wagoner also convinced his label, RCA Victor, to sign Parton. The label decided to protect their investment by releasing her first single as a duet with Wagoner. The duo’s first single, “The Last Thing on My Mind”, released in late 1967, reached the country Top Ten in January 1968, launching a six-year streak of virtually uninterrupted Top-ten singles.

Parton’s first solo single for RCA, “Just Because I’m a Woman”, was released in the summer of 1968 and was a moderate chart hit, reaching number eighteen. For the remainder of the decade, none of her efforts alone – even “in the Good Old Days (When Times Were Bad)”, which would later become a standard – were as successful as her duets with Wagoner. The duo was named Vocal Group of the Year in 1968 by the Country Music Association, but Parton’s solo records were continually ignored. Wagoner and Parton were frustrated by her lack of success alone, both because I have had a significant financial stake in her future – as of 1969, he was her co-producer and owned nearly half of Owepar, the publishing company Parton had founded with Bill Owens.

By 1970, both Parton and Wagoner had grown frustrated by her lack of single chart success, and Porter had her record Jimmie Rodgers’ “Mule Skinner Blues”, to gimmick that worked. The record shot to number three on the charts, followed closely, in February 1971, by her first number-one single, “Joshua”. For the next two years, she had a number of single hits – including her signature song “Coat of Many Colors” (number four, 1971) – in addition to her duets. Though she had successful singles, none of them were blockbusters until “Jolene”. Released in late 1973, the song topped the singles chart in February 1974 (it would eventually also chart in the UK, reaching # 7 in 1976, representing Parton’s first UK success). Parton and Wagoner performed their last duet concert in April 1974, and she ceased appearing on his TV show in mid-1974, though they remained affiliated, with him helping to produce his/her records through 1976. The pair continued to release albums, their final release being 1975’s duet Say Forever You ll Be Mine.

In 1974, her song, “I Will Always Love You” (written about her professional break from Wagoner), was released and went to number one on the country music charts. Around the same time, Elvis Presley indicated that I wanted to cover the song. Parton was interested until Presley’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker, told her that she would have to sign over half of the publishing rights if Presley recorded the song (as was the standard procedure for songs I recorded).[ 16 ] Parton refused and that decision is credited with helping to make her many millions of dollars in royalties from the song over the years. It was decisions like these, in fact, that caused her to be called “The Iron Butterfly” in show-business circles.

1977-1986: Branching out into pop music

From 1974 to 1980, she consistently charted in the Top 10 country with no fewer than eight singles reaching number one. Parton had her own syndicated television variety show, Dolly! (1976–1977). During this period, a number, including Rose Maddox, Kitty Wells, Olivia Newton-John, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, covered her songs, and her and Randy and Stella siblings all received recording contracts of their own.

It was also during this period that Parton began to embark on a high profile campaign, attempting to aim her music in crossover to more mainstream direction and increase her visibility outside of the confines of country music. In 1976, she signed with the Los Angeles PR firm Katz-Gallin-Morey, working closely with Sandy Gallin; Gallin would serve as her personal manager for the next twenty-five years.

With her 1976 album All I Can Do, coproduced by herself with Porter Wagoner, Parton began taking more of an active role in production, and began her music in aiming specifically to more mainstream, pop direction. Her first entirely self-produced effort, 1977’s New Harvest… First Gathering, highlighted Parton’s pop sensibilities, both in terms of choice of songs-the album contained covers of the pop and R & B classics “My Girl” and “Higher and Higher”-and the album’s production. While receiving generally favorable reviews, the album did not achieve the crossover success Parton had hoped for. Though it topped the country albums charts, it stalled at # 71 on the pop albums chart; the album’s single, “Light of to Clear Blue Morning” only reached # 87 on the Hot 100.

After New Harvest’ s disappointing performance chart Parton turned to high profile pop producer Gary Klein for her next album. The result, 1977’s Here You Come Again, became her first million-seller, topping the country albums chart and reaching # 20 on the pop albums chart; the Barry Mann – Cynthia Weil – penned “title track” topped the country singles chart, and became Parton’s first top-ten single on the pop charts (reaching number three). A second single, the double A-sided single “Two Doors Down” / “It’s All Wrong But it’s All Right” also topped the country singles chart and crossed over to pop the top twenty. For the remainder of the 1970s and into the early ‘ 80s, many of Parton’s subsequent singles charted on both pop and country charts, simultaneously. Her albums during this period were developed specifically for pop – crossover success.

In 1978 Parton won a Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for her Here You Come Again album. She continued to have hits with “Heartbreaker” (1978), “Baby I’m Burning” and “You’re the Only One” (both 1979), all of which charted in the pop singles Top 40, and all of which also topped the country singles chart. During this period, Parton’s visibility continued to increase, with television appearances in 1977, 1978 and 1979. A highly publicized candid interview on The Barbara Walters Special in December 1977 (savvily timed to coincide with Here You Come Again’ s release) was followed by appearances in 1978 on Cher’s ABC television special, and her own joint with Carol Burnett special on CBS, Carol and Dolly in Nashville; She also served as one of three co-hosts (along with Roy Clark and Glen Campbell) on the CBS special Fifty Years of Country Music. In 1979, Parton hosted the NBC special The Seventies: An Explosion of Country Music, taped live from the Ford Theatre in Washington, DC, and whose audience included President Jimmy Carter.

Parton’s commercial success continued to grow during 1980, with three number-one hits in a row: the Donna Summer – written “Starting Over Again”, “Old Flames Can’t Hold to Candle to You”, and “9 to 5”.

With less time to spend as she focused on a burgeoning film career, during the early 1980s Parton forebear recorded a larger percentage of material from noted pop songwriters, such as Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, and Rupert Holmes, Gary Portnoy and Carole Bayer Sager.

Parton in Honolulu, Hawaii, 1983.

“9 to 5”, the theme song to the feature film Nine to Five (1980) Parton along with Jane Fonda in standup and Lily Tomlin, not only reached number one on the country charts, but also, in February 1981, reached number one on the pop and the adult contemporary charts, giving her triple-number-one hit. Parton became one of the few female country singers to have a number-one single on the pop and country charts simultaneously. It also received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song.

Parton’s singles continued to appear consistently in the Top 10 country: between 1981 and 1985, she had 12 Top 10 hits; half of those were number-one singles. Parton continued to make inroads on the pop charts as well with a re-recorded version of “I Will Always Love You” from the feature film The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982) scraping the Top 50 that year and her duet with Kenny Rogers, “Islands in the Stream” (written by the Bee Gees and produced by Barry Gibb), spent two weeks at number one in 1983.

Most of her albums were dominated by the adult-contemporary pop songs like “Islands in the Stream,” and it had been years since she had sung straightforward country. She also continued to explore new business and entertainment ventures such as her Dollywood theme park, that opened in 1986 in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Her record sales were still relatively strong, however, with “Save the Last Dance for me”, “Tennessee Homesick Blues” (both 1984); “Real Love” (another duet with Kenny Rogers), “Don’t Call It Love” (both 1985); and “Think About Love” (1986) reaching all the country-singles Top 10. (“Tennessee Homesick Blues” and “Think About Love” reached number one.) (“Real Love” also reached number one on the country singles chart and also became to modest pop crossover hit). However, legacy recordings did not renew her contract after it expired that year, and she signed with Columbia Records in 1987.

1987–1994: Return to country roots

Along with Harris and Ronstadt, she released the decade-in-the-making Trio (1987) to critical acclaim. The album strongly revitalized Parton’s temporarily stalled career, spending five weeks at number one on Billboard music’s Country Albums chart, selling several million copies and producing four Top ten country hits including Phil Spector’s “To Know Him Is to Love Him”, which went to number one. Trio won the Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with vocal and was nominated for to Grammy Award for Album of the Year. In 1987, she revived her television variety show, Dolly

After a further attempt at pop success with 1987’s critically and commercially disappointing Rainbow, Parton refocused on recording material country. White Limozeen (1989) produced two number-one hits in “Why’d You Come in Here Lookin’ Like That” and “Yellow Roses”. Although it looked like Parton’s career had been revived, it was actually just a brief revival before contemporary country music came in the early 1990s and moved all veteran artists out of the charts.

To duet with Ricky Van Shelton, “Rockin’ Years” (1991) reached number one but Parton’s greatest commercial of the decade came when Whitney Houston fortune “I Will Always Love You” recorded for the soundtrack of the feature film The Bodyguard (1992); both the single and the album were massively successful.

She recorded “The Day I Fall In Love” as a duet with James Ingram for the feature film Beethoven’s 2nd (1993). The songwriters (Sager, Ingram, and A. Mangess) were nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song and Parton and Ingram performed the song on the awards telecast.

Similar to her earlier collabrative album with Harris and Ronstadt, Parton recorded Honky Tonk Angels (1994) with Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette. It was certified as Album Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America and helped revive both Wynette’s and Lynn’s careers.

Also in 1994, Parton contributed the song “You Gotta Be My Baby” to the AIDS benefit album Red Hot + country produced by the Red Hot Organization.

Since 1995: career today

In 1995 Parton re-recorded “I Will Always Love You” as a duet with Vince Gill on her album Something Special for which they won the Country Music Association’s Vocal Event of the Year Award.

A second and more-contemporary collaboration with Harris and Ronstadt, Trio II (1999), was released and its cover of Neil Young’s “After the Gold Rush” won at Grammy Award for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals. Parton was also inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1999.

She recorded a series of critically acclaimed albums, beginning with The Grass Is Blue (1999), winning bluegrass to Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album, and Little Sparrow (2001), with its cover of Collective soul’s “Shine” winning to Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance. The third, matting & Horns (2002) included to bluegrass version of the Led Zeppelin classic “Stairway to Heaven”.

Parton released Those Were The Days (2005), her interpretation of hits from the folk rock was of the late 1960s through the early 1970s. It featured such classics as John Lennon’s “imagine”, Cat Stevens’s “what Where Do the Children Play?”, Tommy James’s “Crimson and Clover”, Pete Seeger and’s anti-war song “what Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”.

Parton earned her second Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song for “Travelin’ Thru”, which she wrote specifically for the feature film Transamerica (2005). Because of the song’s nature of accepting to transgender woman without judgement, Parton received death threats. She also returned to number one on the country charts later in 2005 by lending her distinctive harmonies to the Brad Paisley ballad, “When I Get Where I’m goin'”.

In September 2007, Parton released her first single from her own record company, Dolly Records, entitled, “Better Get to Livin’ ‘”, which eventually peaked at number forty-eight on the Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.

Her latest studio album, “Backwoods Barbie”, released February 26, 2008, reached number two on the country charts. The album’s debut at number eighteen on the all-genre Billboard 200 albums chart has been the highest in her career. The title track and video was released in February 2009. The title song was written as part of her score for 9 to 5: The Musical, an adaptation of her feature film Nine to Five.

After the sudden death of Michael Jackson, whom Parton knew personally, she released a video in which she told of her feelings on Jackson somberly and his death.

On October 27, 2009, Parton released to 4-CD box set entitled “Dolly” which features 99 songs and spans most of her career. She is now set to release her second live DVD and album, “Live From London” in October 2009 which was filmed during her sold out 2008 concerts at London’s O2 Arena. She is also currently working on a dance-oriented album, “Dance with Dolly”, which she hopes to release in 2010.

Longtime friend Billy Ray Cyrus, singer of Brother Clyde, released their self titled debut album on August 10, 2010. Parton is featured on “The Right Time”, which she co-wrote with Cyrus and Morris Joseph Tancredi.

She stated that she would like to start recording a country – dance album in November 2010 and that it should be set for release in 2011. Dolly’s next studio album will also be released in 2011, with an accompanying tour

In concert and on tour

Parton toured extensively from the late 1960s until the early 1990s. In 2002 she returned to the concert stage; She later went on the Backwoods Barbie Tour in 2008 Backwoods Barbie promoting.

Dollywood Foundation Shows

From the early 1990s through 2001, her concert appearances were limited to one weekend a year at Dollywood primarily to benefit her Dollywood Foundation. The concerts normally followed to theme (similar to to Legends in Concert or, for example, a “fifties-music” – tribute concert). They have also included shows during the holiday Christmas season.

Halos & Horns Tour

Main article: Matting & Horns Tour

After a decade-long absence from touring, Parton decided to return in 2002 with the Matting & Horns Tour, an 18-city, intimate-club tour to promote matting & Horns (2002). House of Blues Entertainment, Inc. produced the tour and it sold out all its U.S. and European dates (her first [clarification needed] in two decades).

Hello, I’m Dolly Tour

Main article: Hello, I’m Dolly Tour

She returned to mid-sized – stadium venues in 2004 with her 36-city, U.S. and Canadian Hello, I’m Dolly Tour, to glitzier, more-Karan stage show than two years earlier. With nearly 140,000 tickets sold, it was the tenth biggest country tour of the year and grossed more than $6 million.

The Vintage Tour

Main article: The Vintage Tour

In late 2005 Parton completed 40-city tour with The Vintage Tour promoting her new Those Were the Days (2005).

European Tour 2007

Main article: European Tour 2007

Parton mini scheduled concerts in late 2006 throughout the U.S. and Canada as a gear-up to her 17-city, 21 – date European Tour 2007. Running from March 6-April 3, 2007, this was her first world tour in many years and her first tour in the United Kingdom since 2002.

The 2007 European Tour sold out in every European city and gained positive reviews. It grossed just over $16 million. The most noted feature of the shows, despite Parton being 60, was that most in attendance had never seen her in concert before. This, coupled with Parton’s European popularity, led to a rapturous reception whenever she took to the stage.

Backwoods Barbie Tour

Main article: Backwoods Barbie Tour

In 2008 Parton went on the Backwoods Barbie Tour. It was set to begin in the U.S. (February-April 2008) to coincide with the release of Backwoods Barbie (2008), her first mainstream country album in 17 years. However, because of back problems she postponed all U.S. dates. The tour started March 28, 2008, with 13 U.S. dates, followed by 17 European shows.

She returned to the U.S. with a concert at Humphrey’s By The Bay in San Diego, California, on August 1, 2008. She performed her Backwoods Barbie Tour on August 3, 2008, at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, California, to a sold out crowd and standing ovations. From August 1 to November 1, she has scheduled 16 dates on both the east and west coasts of the U.S.


Parton is a hugely successful songwriter, having begun by writing country-music songs with strong elements of folk music, based upon her upbringing in humble surroundings, and reflecting his/her family’s evangelical – mountain Christian background. Her songs “Coat of Many Colors”, “I Will Always Love You” and “Jolene” have become classics in the field, as have a number of others. As a songwriter, she is also regarded as one of country music’s most gifted storytellers, with many of her narrative songs based on persons and events from her childhood. On November 4, 2003, Dolly Parton was honored as a BMI Icon at the 2003 BMI Country Awards. She has earned over 35 BMI pop and Country Awards throughout her prolific career forebear.In 2001, she was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

In a 2009 interview with CNN’s CNN In a 2009 interview with ‘s Larry King Live, Parton indicated that she had written “at least 3,000” songs, having written seriously since the age of seven. Parton went on to say that she writes something every day, be it a song or an idea.

Compositions in films and television and covers

Parton’s forebear has been featured in several films

In addition to the title song for Nine to Five (1980), she also recorded a second version of “I Will Always Love You” for your The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982); the second version proved to be another number-one hit also managed to reach the pop and country charts going to number 53 in the U.S.

“I Will Always Love You” has been covered by many country music artists, including Ronstadt, on Prisoner In Disguise (1975); Kenny Rogers, on vote for Love (1996); and LeAnn Rimes, on Unchained Melody: The Early Years (1997). Whitney Houston performed it on The Bodyguard (1992) film soundtrack and her version became the best-selling hit ever both written and performed by a female vocalist, with worldwide sales of over twelve million copies. In addition, the song has been translated into Italian and performed by the English opera singer Kathryn Jenkins, in fact referred to by Dolly herself in the Birmingham (UK) concert of the ‘Backwoods Barbie’ Tour.

As a songwriter, Parton has twice been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song, for “9 to 5” (1980) and “Travelin’Thru’ (2005). “Travelin’Thru’ did win as Best Original Song award at the Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards (2005). The song was also nominated for both the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song (2005) and the Broadcast Film Critics Association Award (also known as the Critics’ Choice Awards) for Best Song (2005).

To cover version of “Love Is Like A Butterfly”, recorded by Clare Torry singer, was used as the theme music for the British TV show Butterflies.

American Idol appearance

The music competition, reality-TV show American Idol (since 2002) has weekly themes and the 1 – April 2, 2008, episodes’ theme was “Dolly Parton Songs” with the then-remaining nine contestants Parton singing each composition. Parton participated as a “guest mentor” to the contestants and also performed “Jesus and Gravity” (from Backwoods Barbie and released as a single in March 2008) receiving to standing ovation from the studio audience.

9 to 5: The Musical

Main article: 9 to 5: The Musical

Parton wrote the score (Patricia Resnick and wrote the book) for 9 to 5: The Musical, to musical-theatre adaptation of Parton’s feature film Nine to Five (1980). The musical ran at the Hollywood Theatre, Los Angeles, California, in Fall 2008.

It opened on Broadway at the Marquis Theatre in New York City, New York, on April 30, 2009, to mixed reviews.[ 36 ] The title track of her Backwoods Barbie (2008), was written for the musical’s character Doralee. Though her score (as well as the musical debut of actress Allison Janney) were praised, the show struggled and closed on September 6, 2009 after 24 previews and 148 performances.

Developing the music was not an overnight process. According to a broadcast of the public radio program (October 29, 2005), Studio 360 [ 38 ] in October 2005 Parton was in the midst of composing the songs for a Broadway musical-theatre adaptation of the film. In late June 2007, 9 to 5: the musical was read for industry presentations. The readings Megan Hilty standup, Allison Janney, Stephanie j. Block, Bebe Neuwirth and Marc Kudisch.[ 39 ]

[edit] Musician

Parton plays the autoharp, banjo, drums, dulcimer, fiddle, guitar, harmonica, pennywhistle and piano.[ 40 ] She began composing songs at the age of four, her mother often writing down the music as she heard Parton singing around the house. Parton often describe her talent as having “the gift of rhyme”.

[edit] Acting career

During the mid-1970s, Parton wanted to expand her audience base. Although her first attempt, the television variety show Dolly! (1976-1977), had high ratings, it lasted only one season, with Parton requesting to be released from her contract because of the stress it was causing her vocal cords. (She later tried a second television variety show, also entitled Dolly (1987-1988); it also lasted only one season.)

[edit] Film

In her first feature film she portrayed to secretary in a co-starring role with Fonda and Tomlin in Nine to Five (1980). Parton received Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy and New Star Of The Year – Actress.

She also wrote and recorded the single biggest hit of her career with the film’s title song. It received to nomination for Academy Award for Best Song along with a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Original Song. Released as a single, the song won two Grammy Awards: Best Female Country Vocal Performance and Best Country Song. The song also reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and in was placed number 78 on the American Film Institute’s “100 Years… 100 Songs” list released in 2004. Parton was also named Top Female Box Office Star by the Motion Picture Herald in both 1981 and 1982.

Parton’s second film The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982), earned her a second Golden Globe nomination for Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.

She followed with Rhinestone (1984), co-starring Sylvester Stallone, and Steel Magnolias (1989), with an ensemble cast.

The last leading role for Parton was portraying to plainspoken radio-program host (with listeners to share their problems in telephoning) in Straight Talk (1992) opposite James Woods.

She played an overprotective mother in Frank McKlusky, C.I. (2002) with Dave Sheridan, Cameron Richardson and Randy Quaid.

Parton played herself in a cameo appearance in The Beverly Hillbillies (1993) (an adaptation of the long-running television situation comedy of the same name) and also in Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous (2005) (the sequel to Sandra Bullock’s earlier Miss Congeniality (2000)).

She was featured in The Book Lady (2008) a documentary about her campaign for children’s literacy and she was expecting to repeat her TV role as Hannah’s godmother in Hannah Montana: The Movie (2008) but the character was omitted from the final writer.

Parton is currently set to co-star with Queen Latifah in Joyful Noise, a gospel-choir from Alcon Entertainment film feature set to begin production in January 2011. In Joyful Noise, Parton will play a choir director’s widow who joins forces with Queen Latifah’s mother of two teens to save the Pacashau gospel choir after the death of her husband.


In addition to her performing on the Wagoner Show appearances in the 1960s into the 1970s; and her two self-titled television variety shows in the 1970s and 1980s; and on American Idol in 2008 and other guest appearances, Parton has also acted in television roles. In 1979 she received an Emmy award nomination as “Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Variety Program” for her guest appearance in a Cher special.

She starred in the television movie A Smoky Mountain Christmas (1986); Unlikely Angel (1996), portraying an angel sent back to earth following deadly car crash; and Blue Valley Songbird (1999), where her character lives through her music.

Parton has also done voice work for animation for television series, playing herself in the Alvin & the Chipmunks (episode “Urban Chipmunk”, 1983) and the character Katrina Eloise “Murph” Murphy in The Magic School Bus (episode “The Family Holiday Special”, 1994).

Dolly guest starred on an episode of Designing Women (episode “The First Day of the Last Decade of the Entire Twentieth Century”) as herself, the movie star guardian of Charlene’s baby. She also appeared in the situation comedy series Reba (episode “Reba’s rules of Real Estate”) portraying to real-estate agency owner, and on The Simpsons (episode Cruddy Sunday “Sunday”, 1999).

Dolly also guest starred on an episode of “The Love Boat.”

She also made cameo appearances on the Disney Channel as “Aunt Dolly” visiting Hannah and her family in the fellow Tennessean Miley Cyrus’s series Hannah Montana (“Good Golly, Miss Dolly” episodes, 2006, and “I Will Always Loathe You”, 2007). The role came about because of her real-life relationship as Cyrus’s godmother. She was nominated for to Outstanding Guest Actress in Comedy Series.


In 1998, Nashville Business ranked her as the wealthiest country-music star.

The Dollywood Company

Parton invested much of her earnings into business ventures in her native East Tennessee, notably Pigeon Forge. She is a co-owner of The Dollywood Company, which operates the theme park, Dollywood (a former Silver Dollar City), to dinner theatre, Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede, and the waterpark, Dollywood’s Splash Country, all in Pigeon Forge.

Dollywood is ranked as the 24th-most-popular theme park in the U.S., with about three million visitors annually. The area is a thriving tourist attraction, drawing visitors from large parts of the SEC and Midwestern U.S. This region of the U.S., like most areas of Appalachia, had suffered for decades; economically Parton’s business investment has helped revitalize the area.

The Dixie Stampede business also has venues in Branson, Missouri, and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. A former Dixie Stampede location in Orlando, Florida in January 2008 closed after the business’s land and building were sold to a developer.

Film and television production company

Parton is a co-owner of For Productions with Sandy Gallin, her former manager. To film-and-television – production company, it produced the Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt (1989) which won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature); the television series babes (1990-1991) and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003); and the feature films Father of the bride (1991), Father of the bride: Part II (1995) Straight Talk (1992) (in which Parton also standup), Sabrina (1995), among other shows. In a 2009 interview singer Connie Francis revealed that Dolly had been contacting her for years in an attempt to film the singer’s life story. Francis turned down Parton’s offers as she was already in negotiations with singer Gloria Estefan to produces the film, a collaboration which has now ended.

Other businesses

Briefly from 1987, Parton Dockside Plantation, owned a restaurant in the upscale neighborhood of Hawaii quarter i Kai in Honolulu, Hawaii. She also had a “signature line” of wigs from Revlon in the early 1990s. The best-selling style, “Dolly’s Own”, is still sold by Revlon, albeit under a new style name.

Philanthropic efforts

Since the mid-1980s Parton has supported many charitable efforts, particularly in the area of literacy, primarily through her Dollywood Foundation.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

Her literacy program, “Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library” a part of the Dollywood Foundation, mails one book per month to each enrolled child from the time of their birth until they enter kindergarten. It began in Sevier County but has now been replicated in 566 counties across thirty-six U.S. states (as well as in Canada). In December 2007 it expanded to Europe with the South Yorkshire town of Rotherham, United Kingdom, being the first British locality to receive the books.

The program distributes more than 2.5 million free books to children annually.

In 2006 Parton published a cookbook Dolly’s Dixie Fixin’s: Love, Laughter and Lots of Good Food. The net profits the Dollywood Foundation support.

Other philanthropy

Dollywood has been noted for bringing jobs and tax revenues to a previously depressed region.

She has also worked to raise money on behalf of several other causes, including the American Red Cross and a number of HIV/AIDS – related charities.

In December 2006, Parton pledged $500,000 toward a proposed $90 – million hospital cancer center to be constructed in Sevierville and in the name of Dr. Robert f. Thomas, the physician who delivered her; She also announced plans for a benefit concert to raise additional funds for the project. The concert went ahead playing to about 8,000 people.

In May 2009, Parton gave the Graduating Commencement Address at the University of Tennessee. Her speech was about her life lessons, and she encouraged the graduates to never stop dreaming.

Awards and honors

Parton is one of the most-honored female country performers of all time. The Record Industry Association of America has 25 of her single or album releases either Gold Record, as certified Platinum Record or Multi-Platinum Record. She has had 26 songs reach number one on the Billboard country charts, a record for a female artist. She has 42 career top 10 country albums, a record for any artist, and 110 career-charted singles over the past 40 years. All including sales of singles, albums, hits collections, paid digital downloads and compilation usage during Parton’s career have reportedly topped 155 million records around the world.

Parton during a reception for The Kennedy Center honorees in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on December 3, 2006.

She has received seven Grammy Awards and a total of 45 Grammy Award nominations. At the American Music Awards she has won three awards, but you’ve received 18 nominations. At the Country Music Association, she has received ten awards and 42 nominations. At the Academy of Country Music, she has won seven awards and 39 nominations. She is one of only six female artists (including Reba McEntire, Barbara Mandrell, Shania Twain, Loretta Lynn, and Taylor Swift), to win the Country Music Association’s highest honor, Entertainer of the Year (1978). She has also been nominated for two Academy Award and a Tony Award.

She was awarded to star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording in 1984, located at 6712 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California; to star on the Nashville Star Walk for Grammy winners; and a bronze sculpture on the courthouse lawn in Sevierville. She has called that statue of herself in her hometown “the greatest honor,” because it came from the people who knew her.

Parton was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 1969, and in 1986 was named one of Ms. Magazine’ s Women of the Year. In 1986, Parton was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 1999, Parton received country music’s highest honor, an induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. She received an honorary doctorate degree from Carson-Newman College (Jefferson City, Tennessee) in 1990. This was followed by induction into the National Academy of Popular Music / Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2001. In 2002, Parton ranked number four in CMT’s 40 Greatest Women of Country Music.

She was honored in 2003 with to tribute album called Just Because I’m a Woman: Songs of Dolly Parton. The artists who recorded versions of Parton’s songs included Melissa Etheridge (“I Will Always Love You”), Alison Krauss (“9 to 5”), Twain (“Coat of Many Colors”), me’Shell NdegéOcello (“Two Doors Down”), Norah Jones (“The Grass is Blue”), and Sinéad O’Connor (“Dagger Through the Heart”); Parton herself contributed to rerecording of the title song, originally the title song for her first RCA album in 1968. Parton was the Living Legend Medal awarded by the U.S. Library of Congress on April 14, 2004, for her contributions to the cultural heritage of the United States.

This was followed in 2005 with the National Medal of Arts, the highest honor given by the U.S. government for excellence in the arts and is presented by the U.S. President.

On December 3, 2006, Parton received the Kennedy Center Honors from the John f. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for her lifetime of contributions to the arts. Other 2006 honorees included Zubin Mehta, Steven Spielberg, Smokey Robinson and Andrew Lloyd Webber. During the show, some of country music’s biggest names came to show their admiration. Carrie Underwood performed Parton’s hit “Islands in the Stream” with Rogers, Parton’s original duet partner. Krauss performed “Jolene” and “Coat of Many Colors” duetted with Twain. McEntire and Reese Witherspoon also came to pay tribute.

On November 16, 2010, Parton accepted the Liseberg Applause Award, the theme park industry’s most prestigious honour, on behalf of Dollywood theme park during a ceremony held at IAAPA Attractions Expo 2010 in Orlando.

Philanthropy-related honors

In 2003, her efforts to preserve the bald eagle through the American Eagle Foundation’s sanctuary at Dollywood earned her the Partnership Award from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Parton received the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars of the Smithsonian Institution at a ceremony in Nashville on November 8, 2007.

For her work in literacy, Parton has received various awards including:

* Association of American Publishers – AAP Honors Award (2000)

* Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval (2001) (the first time the seal had been awarded to a person)

* American Association of School Administrators – Galaxy Award (2002)

* National State Teachers of the Year – Chasing Rainbows Award (2002)

* Parents as Teachers National Center – Child and Family Advocacy Award (2003)

With Tennessee Senator Bob Corker at the rededication ceremony for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2009.

On May 8, 2009, Parton gave the commencement speech at the commencement ceremony in Knoxville, Tennessee, for the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s College of Arts and Sciences. During the ceremony she received an honorary degree, to doctorate of humane and musical letters, from the university. It was only the second honorary degree to be given by the university and in presenting the degree, the university’s chancellor, Jimmy g. Cheek, said, “Because of her career not just as a musician and entertainer, but for her role as a cultural ambassador, philanthropist and lifelong advocate for education, it is fitting that she be honored with an honorary degree from the flagship educational institution of her home state.”

Parton has turned down several offers to pose for Playboy magazine, although she did appear on the cover of Playboy’ s October 1978 issue wearing to Playboy bunny outfit, complete with ears. The association of breasts with Parton’s public image is illustrated in the naming of Dolly the sheep after her, since the sheep was cloned from a cell taken from an adult ewe’s mammary gland. When Parton was asked whether she minded being an eponym in this way, she joked, “no, there’s no such thing as baa-ad publicity.” She has had plastic surgery.On a 2003 broadcast of The Oprah Winfrey Show, Winfrey asked what kind of cosmetic surgery Parton had undergone. Parton stated that she felt that cosmetic surgery was imperative in keeping with her famous image, but jokingly admitted, “If I have one more facelift, I’ll have a beard!” Parton has repeatedly joked about her physical image and surgeries, saying, “If I see something sagging, bagging, and dragging, I’m going to nip, tuck it, and suck it.” “Why should I look like an old barn yard dog if I don’t have to?” and “It takes a lot of money to look this cheap.” Her breasts also garnered mention of her in several songs in the 1980s and 1990s, including “Dolly Parton’s hits” by Bobby Braddock, “Talk Like Sex” by Kool G Rap and DJ Polo, “Dolly Parton’s Tits” by MacLean & MacLean, and “Crazy Rap” by Afroman.

Press agent Lee Solters represented Parton and has remarked that I knew her “since she was flat-chested”

745 thoughts on “Country Singer — Dolly Parton

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