Dolly Parton is one of the most successful and beloved country music artists of the last century. And she’s also an extremely prolific business and entertainment mogul. There are many things people don’t know about Dolly, from her surprising story to the top, to her incredibly unique political opinions. Keep reading to discover the queen of country’s most interesting achievements, failures, and even a few surprises we’re sure you never knew!
Dolly’s Childhood Years
Dolly Rebecca Parton was born on January 19, 1946. She lived with her family in a tiny one-room cabin in Sevierville, Tennessee. Her parents were Avie Lee Caroline, and Robert Lee Parton. Robert was a small-time business owner who sold tobacco and worked in construction. Her mother, Avie, stayed at home and raised the kids. Dolly was the fourth child out of a whole dozen.
On Sundays, the family would often go to church where Dolly’s grandfather was the pastor. The Parton family lived in abject poverty, to the point where her father had to pay the doctor who delivered her with a bag of cornmeal. Still, they were quite happy and loved each other. Luckily, little Dolly began performing at church by age six, where she showed great potential. By eight years old, she even had her own guitar.
A Child Performer
From a very young age, Dolly Parton had already proven herself as a talented musician. She began performing as a child, mostly by singing on local radio and TV programs in East Tennessee. By age ten, the young singer had already appeared on The Cas Walker Show, and found herself recording her first single just a few years later.
Parton also had a lucky encounter with legendary singer Johnny Cash while singing at the Grand Ole Opry hotel. The veteran singer told her to go after her dreams and trust her gut when it came to music. Although Dolly was appearing regularly as a performer, her family was still facing the same economic issues, as she was still years away from banking good money for her musical talents.
Moving to Nashville
When Dolly graduated from Sevier County High School in 1964, she didn't waste a single day and drove off to Nashville, Tennessee the following night. The city is known as the center of country music, and many popular country artists achieved their claim to fame there. Upon arrival, she was signed with Combine Publishing and began writing various singles that were later recorded by successful music artists.
Despite being very successful as an up-and-coming songwriter, Parton knew that she was there for a different reason. At age 19, she was finally picked up by a major record label that wanted her in the spotlight. That’s when she really started gaining popular acclaim.
First Hit Single
When Monument Records approached Dolly in 1965, she was still just 19 years old, but as ready as anyone can be for singing. The studio had initially thought of her as a mainstream bubblegum pop singer, but the singer was adamant that she wanted a career in country music. Monument initially resisted the idea, mostly because they believed her unique voice was not suited for the genre.
The young aspiring singer kept releasing singles until one of them stuck. It was the song "Put It Off Until Tomorrow", which she recorded with Bill Phillips (although she was uncredited). The song got to number six on the country chart, and the studio gave her the green light to record a country album. She soon released her first album, titled ‘Hello, I'm Dolly’.
Teaming Up With Wagoner
Thanks to her rising popularity and promising future, Dolly was approached in 1967 by Porter Wagoner with an opportunity. The beloved country star and entertainer invited Dolly, who was in Nashville for just three years at this point, to work with him on his various projects. The young singer got to participate in Wagoner's beloved TV program, The Porter Wagoner Show and even took part in his roadshows.
Porter Wagoner was originally accompanied by Norma Jean, who was widely beloved among his fans. When Parton replaced her, audiences were very public about their disapproval, but over time Parton managed to gain the love of his audiences and was even signed on to Wagoner's label, RCA Victor. The two immediately hit it big and released hit after hit for a full six years, enjoying much success, fame, and fortune in the process.
An Abysmal Solo Debut
Riding on the back of her success with Wagoner, Dolly decided to try her luck as a solo country artist. In 1968, she released her first solo single with RCA Victor, "Just Because I'm a Woman", and reached number seventeen in the country charts. For more than two years, the singer worked hard to position herself as a successful solo artist, but nothing seemed to work.
She received various awards for her duets with Wagoner, and was even named with him as the Vocal Group of the Year by the Country Music Association. Wagoner believed in Dolly, and was willing to stake some serious financial resources in seeing her succeed. Eventually, after a long and frustrating period, he had a brilliant idea, and asked Parton to cover Jimmie Rodgers' "Mule Skinner Blues"...
First Taste of Solo Success
Wagoner's gamble was successful, as Parton's rendition of 'Mule Skinner Blues' reached number three in the charts. The next single, 'Joshua', was the first one to reach first place for her. From there, Parton enjoyed two years of a steady succession of solo hits, including her signature song "Coat of Many Colors". She was enjoying massive success, both as a solo musician and in her duets with Wagoner.
In April 1974, the two made their last performance as a team, and transitioned from a duet into business partners. Dolly was on fire, and even managed to compose both "Jolene" and "I Will Always Love You" in a single songwriting session. From there, the sky was looking clear for Dolly, and she became very interested in transitioning into the mainstream Pop music genre.
Becoming a National Sensation
By the late '70s, Dolly's career was skyrocketing, with many consecutive hit singles and even her very own variety show called "Dolly!". She began getting covered by various upcoming performers. Even her family members were getting recording contracts thanks to sharing her family name. Around that time, Parton had her sights set on going mainstream by changing her style to Pop music, and she set out on an aggressive crossover campaign.
She hired Sandy Gallin and Gary Klein, two known names in the industry, to help her out. By 1977, her album "Here You Come Again" sold over a million copies, and her crossover albums were just as successful. The talented singer was a national success story.
Dolly Parton set her sights on acting quite early in her career and has appeared in many films and TV shows by now. She knew that a great way to expand her influence would be to appear on the big screen too, which is why the singer ventured into TV with her show Dolly! as early as the mid-'70s. Her first official acting job was in the 1980 comedy 9 to 5, where she portrayed a
9 to 5 became a major box office hit and helped boost her recognition even more. She also teamed up with Sylvester Stallone for the 1984 comedy film Rhinestone, which unfortunately wasn't nearly as successful. Parton still appears in the occasional film and has recently announced an eight-part Netflix series that revolves around her career called Dolly Parton's Heartstrings.
Marriage to Carl Dean
Dolly and Carl Thomas Dean, a retired asphalt road-paving company owner, got married in early 1966. Despite the singer's popularity, Dean was much more secluded and rarely appeared in public events. Dolly also claims that her husband has only seen her perform once throughout her entire career, but maintains that they have a very loving and romantic marriage nonetheless.
When asked in 2011 about the state of her marriage to Dean, the singer said, "We're really proud of our marriage. It's a first for both of us. And the last." The two have renewed their vows in 2016 after five decades of marriage, and appear to be going strong. This is an extremely rare case in the entertainment industry, which just goes to show what an incredible and loving person Dolly is.
Establishing Her Own Brand
Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner were a huge thing back in the early ‘70s. The two were selling hit singles like lemonade on a hot summer day. Everything they did together worked out successfully. They were involved in everything from a combined musical career, a duet tour, and even hosted The Porter Wagoner Show together. Unfortunately, as great as they were together, Dolly knew her dream was to establish herself as a solo artist.
The two officially announced the end of their partnership on February 19, 1974, after more than seven years of working together on the show, touring together, and recording two albums. Parton told CMT that she tried to get away on her own because she had promised to stay with Porter’s show for five years. Parton was there for seven and ultimately had to leave because of the whole fighting.
An Unfortunate Ending
Despite their fantastic on-screen chemistry, things were not so great behind the scenes for Parton and Wagoner. They both knew what was best for them at the time. Even though it was hard at the time, Dolly felt that he wasn't listening to him anymore,
Things really got bad when Wagoner officially sued Dolly for breach of contract. This started a long-beef which continued for decades to come between the two. Although the two were officially separated when it came to business, their bond was much stronger than dislike or hate. Just before leaving, Dolly recorded a wonderful song just for Wagoner.
I Will Always Love You
Arguably one of Dolly Parton’s greatest hits I Will Always Love You is a beautiful ballad of heartfelt emotions. Parton dedicated the song specifically for Wagoner. When asked about its meaning, she told CMT, “It’s saying, ‘Just because I’m going doesn't mean I won’t love you. I appreciate you and I hope you do great and I appreciate everything you’ve done, but I’m out of here…’”
“I took it the next morning. I said, ‘Sit down, Porter. I’ve written this song, and I want you to hear it.’ So I sang it. And he was crying. He said, ‘That’s the prettiest song I ever heard. And you can go, providing I get to produce that record.’ And he did, and the rest is history.”
Healing Their Divisions
Dolly and Wagoner were estranged both personally and professionally for several decades since their unfortunate departure. This was particularly sad considering that the older country icon was responsible for much of the foundation of Parton’s success. Still, Dolly certainly came through and managed to fix things towards the end.
Back in 2007, when Wagoner was 80 years old, the loving singer visited him just before he was about to lose his long fight against lung cancer. Dolly stayed with him all the way until the very end. Parton told Knoxville’s News-Sentinel, “It was really, really hard. I held his hand, and we prayed… Porter’s soul was already with God. All that was left was a shell…” she said.”
Despite being mostly known as a singer at this point, Dolly built the foundation of her success in song-writing. Unlike many singers, she wrote most of her own songs and was responsible for writing various hit singles throughout the years. Some of her songs, such as "Jolene" and "I Will Always Love You" have become known in almost every household across the United States, even today.
Parton was nominated for a Best Original Song Academy Award multiple times and has also been nominated by the Broadcast Film Critics Association Award and the Golden Globe for Best Original song in 2005. Dolly captured the hearts of millions throughout her long career. But in addition to her musical talents, she was also a savvy businesswoman.
She Can Play Almost Every Instrument
Speaking of being an extremely talented lady, many people don’t know that Dolly Parton can play just about every instrument in her shows. She might not be a virtuoso in all of them, but with how well she can sing, just knowing how to play a tune on any instrument at all is a wonderful addition.
She told Vogue in 2016, “I play some of everything. I ain’t that good at none of it, but I try to sell it. I really try to lay into it,” adding that, “my family’s very musical, and everybody played musical instruments, so we just grabbed up anything and tried to play. Like I said, I ain’t all that good at it, but I can play enough to make a show!”
Dolly Parton Wrote Thousands of Songs
One of Dolly Parton’s greatest strengths is the ability to spit out lyrical genius at the drop of a hat. She wrote two of her most popular songs, I Will Always Love You and Jolene, in a single songwriting session, but it actually goes much deeper than that. Parton began writing songs at seven years old and still continues to do so to this day.
Dolly Parton claims on her website that she writes at-least two or three songs every week, which means that give or take, she has probably written well over 5,000 songs over her entire life! We’d sure love to get a look at that song list, as we’re sure there are some hidden gems there that have never gotten the chance to play in our headphones.
She Often Writes Songs While Traveling
With a busy touring schedule, a few companies to take care of, and loving family life, just where does Dolly get the time to write so many songs? The singer actually had a great answer to this, and proved just how creative she can get when there’s something she wants to do.
Parton told Vogue, “I write a lot when I’m traveling on the bus. To be honest, when I’m on tour, I have more time than any other time to write and to read and to catch up on my business things… You finish a show at 11:00 at night and then you’re done till 8:00 the next evening, so you have a lot of time to write… But I write almost everyday, some thoughts, some titles, some songs will come to me.”
Her Hidden Source of Inspiration
The talented singer has been making music since she was just seven years old. It seems that her passion, creativity, and abilities are almost limitless, as she still continues to impress us even today. Many people wonder just where does Dolly gets her inspiration, motivation and drive from, and she actually had a very interesting answer.
In 2014, Parton told The Guardian, “I didn’t hear a voice, but it was a knowing that came to me, and it said, ‘Run. Run until I tell you to stop.’ And that’s what it’s been, I’ve kept keeping on. And I never let a person, or a thing, nor sickness, nor a heartache, nor anything keeps me from keeping on.”
She Almost Treats Music Like Business
If there’s one thing that Hollywood taught us over the years, it’s that talent and creativity aren’t enough to succeed in show business. No matter how much potential you have, if it isn’t backed up with hard work and discipline — nothing can truly come out of it. Part of the success behind Dolly Parton’s career has been her obsessive focus on treating her music like a professional business.
In 2017, she told BBC News about the best career advice she ever received from her father: “Even though he wasn’t an educated man, he wasn’t able to read and write, daddy had a great sense of business. He said, ‘Don’t let other people take advantage of you, keep your mind on your business.’ So when I got into the music business I thought of it as a business.”
The World’s Most Iconic Cover
Dolly’s iconic song, I Will Always Love You, remains one of the most recognizable lyrical performances of all time. It regained its popularity back in 1992 when Whitney Houston covered it for the popular action film, The Bodyguard. In fact, it reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for 14 weeks. The song is also the world’s best selling female single in history.
I Will Always Love You was later played at Houston’s funeral, which almost broke the singer’s heart. As Dolly told Nightline, “When they played it at her funeral and they lifted her coffin up, man, it was like somebody stabbed me in the heart with a knife. It just overwhelmed me.” The song has that effect on most people...
Dolly And Whitney's Relationship
Almost everyone will admit that Whitney Houston’s version of “I Will Always Love You” was not only much more successful but also better received than Dolly’s original rendition. This led tabloids and other gossip channels to create rumors that Dolly was jealous of Houston, and harbored ill feelings towards her. This wasn’t only inaccurate, it was actually the opposite of the truth.
Both Parton and Houston admired and loved each other. In 1993, Houston told Rolling Stone that she had personally thanked Parton at one point, “I talked to Dolly Parton by phone not too long ago, She told me: ‘Whitney, I just want to tell you something. I’m just honored that you did my song. I just don’t know what to tell you, girl.’ and I said, ‘Well, Dolly, you wrote a beautiful song.’ And she said: ‘Yeah, but it never did that well for me. It did well for you because you put all that stuff into it.’”
She’s Extremely Talented Financially
Dolly treats money differently than most people. Her rough background and inspirational parents led her to adopt a very financially responsible position, and she has benefited greatly from it. Parton told BBC News, “As soon as you start making money, you should invest and get into other businesses that you can fall back on if you don’t make it big, or if you make it big and you fall on hard times.”
Dolly Parton’s business mentality and unwillingness to let luck control her destiny led to an accumulated net worth of over around half a billion dollars. She still makes great money and works hard to earn it, despite having more than she could ever do anything with. The singer earned a reported $37 million between 2016 and 2017, mostly from touring and her theme park.
Dolly took her sizable income and used it open a company called "The Dollywood Company" and invested much of her income towards it. She began to grow considerable assets, including a theme park, a dinner theater restaurant, Dolly Parton's Stampede, the Dollywood's Splash Country waterpark, and the Dream More Resort and Spa. All based on her.
Dolly Parton’s theme park is the world's 24th most popular theme park in the United States and averages more than three million annual visitors. It's quite clear that Parton has done a great job securing her assets and creating generational wealth for her children and their children too. As of 2019, the popular singer, actress, and businesswoman is worth around $500 million.
Dolly Stays Away From Amusement Parks
You’d think that someone who owns one of the world’s most successful theme parks would be a huge fan of the attraction, but not Dolly. With Dolly, things are never quite so simple. The singer claims that she stays as far away from them as possible. And it has nothing to do with her being too successful to wait a few minutes in line.
The actual reason is that she tends to get motion sickness quite easily. She says “My daddy used to say, ‘I could never be a sailor. I could never be a miner. I could never be a pilot,’ I am the same way. I have motion sickness. I could never ride some of these rides. I used to get sick on the school bus.” Despite this, the singer somehow managed to create an incredible theme park of her own. Go figure…
She Lost Her Own Look-Alike Contest
Dolly Parton has such a unique and easily identifiable look that it would be almost impossible to miss her on the street. Her face was always highly recognizable, and her puffy hair and beautiful figure help a lot too. A few decades ago, the singer heard that a Dolly Parton Look-ALike contest was being held in Santa Monica Boulevard.
The participants were all dressed in exaggerated blonde wigs, a lot of makeup, and her signature fashion style. Parton decided to go visit the event and try to compete in her own competition. According to her, she walked on stage and tried to see if people would recognize her. Not only did nobody notice it was Dolly, but she actually lost the competition by a wide margin!
She’s Miley Cyrus's God Mother
Love her or hate her, it’s almost impossible to ignore Miley Cyrus. She began her entertainment career while working with Nickelodeon as a child star and daughter to Billy Ray Cyrus. Since then, Cyrus has graduated into a full-time rockstar. The young entertainer has been the subject of much controversy, thanks to her inability to stay out of trouble.
Despite their differences, Cyrus and Parton are both are very talented singers who just happen to have different tastes in music. When Parton was asked in 2014 what she thought about her godchild's change in image, Parton said that “Miley wanted to become Miley but no one would let her so she took it to extreme measures.” While they don’t always see things eye to eye, the love is most certainly there.
Supporting Her Godchild
While Dolly clearly chose a very different path in life than her young godchild, she is very accepting and loves her regardless. When Parton was asked by TIME Magazine if she has any concerns about Miley’s future, she said, “If I didn’t know how smart and talented Miley is, I might worry about her. But I’ve watched her grow up. So I don’t. She knows what she’s doing.”
Dolly continued, “She was very proud of the work she did as Hannah Montana, but people were going to leave her there forever… The girl is smart. And she doesn’t have to be so drastic. But I will respect her choices. I did it my way, so why can’t she do it her way?” It’s clear that Dolly’s experiences as an aspiring artist bore some challenging times that helped shape her into a beautiful, loving and supportive person.
Where She Got Her Signature Look From
Dolly Parton’s unique look has been the subject of admiration for decades. Somehow, despite aging over time, the singer looks just as vibrant and beautiful as she did when she was just getting started. Parton has also been a huge inspiration in the LGBTQ+ community, especially among drag queens and other fabulous performers who look up to her.
When asked by ABC News where she got the idea for her iconic look, Parton said, “There was this woman, we won’t call her names, but she was beautiful. I had never seen anybody, you know, with the yellow hair all piled up and the red lipstick and rouge and the high heeled shoes, and I thought, ‘This is what I want to look like.’” We’d like to thank this random woman in everyone’s name!
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library
There’s nothing more precious to an artist than their imagination and creativity, it's arguably their most important asset and source of success. Dolly Parton realized this early on, which prompted her to run a program called Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. The organization sends a book every month to children enrolled in its program, up until they reach kindergarten age.
Almost a million children throughout Australia, the UK, Canada, and the United States are part of the program and get the monthly book sent to them. This means that the Imagination Library sends almost twelve million books annually, which is quite an incredible number. Books help stimulate a child’s imagination and help develop them into amazing, talented adults.
The Inspiration Behind Imagination Library
Dolly Parton’s inspiration for starting The Imagination Library program came from quite an unlikely source. In a 2015 interview with Paper, Dolly said, “It all really started with my daddy. He was, without a doubt, the smartest man I have ever known, but he could not read very well. Daddy did an incredible job of providing a good life for our family but there is no telling what he could have achieved if he had learned to read.”
She went on to add, “The Imagination Library is just one way for me to honor him… Not long before he passed, he told me he was more proud of me for the Imagination Library than anything else I had ever done. I’ll never forget that moment. So every time I am called the Book Lady, I think of my Daddy.”
The Dollywood Foundation
Another incredible venture that Dolly is responsible for is The Dollywood Foundation. This organization helps states with poor economic situations by bringing jobs and new taxes into them. The added work and government revenue help stimulate more jobs and growth, leading to a cycle of improvement. Parton also raises money for various other charities and organizations.
One example of the singer’s kindness is a donation she gave of half a million dollars to a hospital and cancer center in Sevierville. Parton is also big on inspiring the younger generation to dream and go after their goals. She gave a commencement address in 2009 at the University of Tennessee where she inspired the audience to dream big and go for it.
Her Live and Let Live Attitude
While Dolly is extremely generous and uses her vast fortune to help people all around the world, she never tries to shame other celebrities into being like her. The singer believes in a “live and let live” attitude, and prefers to let everyone make their own choices.
She recently told Paper, “One thing I never do is tell people what they should be doing. All I can do is speak for myself, and I have always felt I had an obligation to give back. For me, it means a lot of different things… You also have to give a big chunk of yourself, but I don’t mind all that is expected from me. It comes with the territory and I would not change one thing.”
Annual LGBTQ+ Day
As we’ve mentioned, Dolly Parton is quite a hero among the LGBTQ+ community. She’s been admired for helping others express themselves and be who they feel they are. Parton hosts an annual “Gay Day” at her renowned Dollywood theme park. This is quite a popular attraction for the gay community, but Dolly says that everyone is invited to join and attend the fun.
She recently told The Hollywood Reporter, “It’s a place for entertainment, a place for all families, period. It’s for all that. But as far as the Christians, if people want to pass judgment, they’re already sinning. The sin of judging is just as bad as any other sin they might say somebody else is committing. I try to love everybody.” That’s quite an interesting take on religion!
Parton Has Massive LGBTQ+ Support
There’s no wonder why so many gay people support and adore Parton. She’s especially popular among the drag community and inspires them to express themselves as they feel. She told The Hollywood Reporter, “I’ve struggled enough in my life to be appreciated and understood. I’ve had to go against all kinds of people throughout the years just to be myself.”
The singer added, “I think everybody should be allowed to be who they are, and to love who they love. I don’t think we should be judgmental. Lord, I’ve got enough problems of my own to pass judgment on somebody else,” She clearly has a problem with people judging others, which is perhaps her biggest strength in attracting fans who seek acceptance for who they are.
She’s a Parent-Figure to Many
While it’s impossible for Dolly Parton to be the godmother of everyone out there, she can do her best to inspire and love from a distance. The singer expressed to The Guardian that she feels everyone, especially the LGBTQ+ community, has a special place in her heart. When people don’t feel accepted by their families, they know Dolly will always love and accept them.
Dolly told The Guardian, “I’ve often said people don’t come to see me, they come to see me to see them. I’ve fought for the right to be myself, so that is one of the reasons that the gays and lesbians relate to me. They know that I appreciate everybody for who they are. We are who we are, so why can’t we be allowed to be that?”
She Wasn’t Always Aware of the LGBTQ Community
You have to remember that Dolly doesn’t exactly come from Hollywood. The singer was originally born in a hard-working Southern family where the LGBTQ+ community was practically nonexistent. It took many years before she first learned that other people had different sexual preferences, but was immediately accepting of them due to her loving nature.
In 2016, Parton told Love Source, “We were just mountain people, and I did not know at that time – I sure did not. In my early days we did not know [what gay was]. It didn’t take me long to know that people were different and that was fine with me. I was different too, and I embraced and accepted them and I knew them. I knew them well.”
She Was Severely Depressed
Dolly’s life wasn’t always easy, and she had to face many challenges. Unlike many celebrities, the singer and business mogul managed to keep things wrapped behind closed doors, and didn’t share her struggles with the public. That all changed in a recent book, Dolly, Interviews and Encounters with Dolly Parton, which shares many of her personal stories and secrets.
One of the most startling things she shared was that her relationship with Carl Dean was an open one. Parton explained that she went through a horrible breakup with another man, and found herself depressed and suicidal. At one point, she was seriously considering taking her life, but changed her mind thanks to her dog, a Boston Terrier named Popeye.
One of the Proudest Moments of Her Life
A few years ago, Dolly Parton helped co-write an article for CNN where she detailed and outlined one of the proudest moments of her entire life. The singer shared that it had nothing to do with fame or her musical success. Her proudest moment came in 2016 when she got a chance to help countless families who lost their homes in the Tennessee wildfires.
Parton had founded an organization called “My People Fund”, which ended up giving $1,000 per month to almost a thousand unfortunate families. She even surprised the families and included an additional $5,000 per family for a total of $10,000. She said, “I know $10,000 can’t solve everything, but I do hope the money will help them to dream again.”
Dolly Parton’s Award Collection
Over her many generations as actress, singer, songwriter, businesswoman, and humanitarian, Dolly Parton has received numerous awards for her success. In 1987, she spent five weeks at the No. 1 spot on Billboard's Country Albums chart and received a Grammy Award for Album of the Year.
The singer also received awards for her acting and was honored for her humanitarian efforts, and even went on to get inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1999. Parton also won a Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album and a Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance. Is there anything that Dolly Parton can’t do?
Her Marriage is Extremely Private
One of the classiest things about Dolly Parton is that she has always respected her husband’s need for privacy. The singer kept details about their relationship in tight wraps, and the two are rarely if ever seen in public together. This isn’t due to a distance between them but is actually a way for them to keep their romance and love strong.
Parton told Vogue, “My husband is not one who wants to be just thrown out there. He’s very private, and I’ve always respected that for him and about him. And so, we just try to live our lives. Everybody is not entitled to every single thing you do and thought you think, although I do share as much of my life as I possibly can… but there are just some things that are sacred and private.”
Parton Has a Huge Wig Closet
It’s no secret that Dolly Parton loves dressing flashy and being the most visible person in the room. While it may seem like she does this from a place of insecurity, she actually doesn’t care what other people think and does it purely for her own enjoyment and expression. The singer recently claimed that she has a dedicated closet full of wigs to choose from.
Parton told Vogue, “I have a cabinet where I carry all the show wigs. I travel, when I’m on tour, with Cheryl Riddle, who is my hairdresser. But we always have a cabinet in the back of the bus to carry show wigs… I can’t really count them all. I always make a joke and say, ‘I wear one almost every day, so I must have at least 365!’”
Practically Everyone Recognizes Her
One thing that nobody tells you about becoming a huge celebrity is that you basically lose the ability to go out in public without being noticed. Dolly attempted this back in the early 2000s, when she tried going Christmas shopping with her friends by completely changing her looks. Let’s just say it didn’t exactly go according to plan…
In 2009, Dolly told Daily Herald-Tribune just what drastic steps she took to change her look, “I did my makeup completely different and wore a short black wig and wore different clothes... I was in a record shop buying stuff with friends that nobody would have recognized. And I said something, and this group of kids said, ‘You’re Dolly Parton in a black wig.’ My voice is just as recognizable as my looks.”
She Still Has Strong Roots to Her Home
Dolly Parton’s upbringing had more to do with her success than just about anything. She was born in a rural town and lived in a state of abject poverty. Despite these challenges, her parents gave her all the love, lessons and guidance she needed to become an incredible person. That’s why Parton made sure to restore her original home many decades after becoming a success.
The singer appeared on The Nate Berkus Show and said, “My brother Bobby is a great carpenter. He worked on it and restored it. What we tried to do was make it look like it did when we lived there, but we wanted it to be functional. So I spent a couple of million dollars making it look like I spent $50 on it! Even like in the bathroom, I made the bathroom so it looked like an outdoor toilet.”
The Most Outrageous Thing She’s Ever Done
We’d imagine that a list of the most outrageous things that Dolly Parton has ever done would run as long as a grocery receipt. She is known for having a very daring and flamboyant personality, which means that there are probably many adventures in her past that nobody even knows about. Dolly was asked by Rolling Stone about the most daring thing she’s ever done…
She claims that her most outrageous experience was running naked with her friend in public. “I opened up the door and I started walking’ around the car in the moonlight,” Parton told Rolling Stone, “…then it was like I was immediately exposed! It was like nothing had mattered until then. Then all of a sudden I realized I was naked. I was so embarrassed, but feelin’ so proud that I had done it.”
Her Acting Debut
Dolly Parton was excited to appear in the 1980 film 9 to 5 alongside Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. Despite being offered quite a few roles in the past, this was the first one that she actually wanted to do. The movie was highly successful, and the theme song she recorded for the film ended up reaching number one in three different charts, giving her a triple number-one hit.
In a 1980 interview with Rolling Stone, Parton said, “I knew instantly that I should do it – I knew that it was a career move… [Jane Fonda] wanted me, and she wanted Lily. She said she was drivin’ down the freeway, and a song came on the radio, and she knew my personality, and she’d been a fan of my songwriting for a long time.”
How She Prepared For the Role
You can probably imagine how stressful it must have been for Dolly Parton to appear in her first role in a major Hollywood film. The singer had no practical acting experience before first debuting in 9 to 5, but she didn’t let that stop her for a moment. Dolly recently told the Rolling Stones just how she prepared for the role, and honestly? We’re not surprised.
Dolly Parton told Rolling Stone, “It was so funny, ’cause I didn’t know exactly what the movies were all about; I just knew that I would do it as well as anybody else. I just assumed they would start in the front and follow the story to keep up the excitement, so I memorized the whole script.” Clearly the lady likes to do her homework!
She Reunited With the Cast — Four Decades Later After more than 40 years after 9 to 5 was originally made, Dolly Parton joined her co-stars, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, to speak at the 2017 Emmy Awards. The trio wanted to make a very bold political statement, a movie that was quite controversial and got them a lot of publicity at the time…
The three said, “Back in 1980, we refused to be controlled by a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot… And in 2017, we STILL refuse to be controlled by a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot!” To be honest, Dolly wasn’t exactly part of that speech and mostly kept in the background. It’s clear who the message was made against, but Parton’s “don’t judge” attitude helped her avoid getting involved.
A Cloned Sheep Was Named After Her
Of all the ways you could honor the popular singer, cloning a sheep and naming it after her would probably not appear on our list. We’re not scientists, however, because that’s exactly what one of them decided to do. In mid-1997, scientists at the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh managed to clone the world’s first sheep from an adult cell. They decided to name their creation, Dolly.
The experiment was a massive success and made the team’s leader, Dr. Lam Wilmut, a household name for a short while. He was asked during an interview about the motivation for naming their sheep “Dolly”. In his response, Dr. Wilmut said, “Dolly is derived from a mammary gland cell and we couldn’t think of a more impressive pair of glands than Dolly Parton’s.”
Plastic Surgery. Lots of Plastic Surgery.
It doesn’t take an expert to notice that Dolly has gone through quite a bit of plastic surgery throughout her life, especially in later decades. While many celebrities use it as a way to hide their aging looks, she’s actually proud of it. During an interview, Dolly commented, “It’s like what I always say: I may look fake but I’m real where it counts.” That’s one great outlook!
The singer claims she’s able to go through her entire makeup routine in just under fifteen minutes, and from there she can just about be herself. When asked about her plastic surgeries, she made the iconic remark, “It costs a lot of money to look this cheap.” She made it clear that this was her choice and had nothing to do with insecurities. And judging by her actions, she must have been telling the truth.
She’s Notoriously Non-Political
While many Hollywood celebrities have managed to alienate large parts of their fanbase by spouting political opinions, Dolly prefers to take a backseat when it comes to public political opinion. Much like her marriage, she keeps these opinions private and approaches the public with the same Live and Let Live motto we have gotten to adore from this beautiful country singer.
Dolly is one of the only popular entertainment figures that stays clear out of politics. When asked about the 2016 presidential race, she said, “I have not endorsed Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.” Clarifying what she meant to say, Dolly said, “What would I think about a woman being president?’ I think a woman would be great, I’m sure Hillary would be fine. I have not endorsed either candidate. I was only saying I might run myself because I have the hair for it, I do not get involved in political things. I have not decided who I am voting for.” Dolly Parton 2020, anyone?