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Early Life

Dolly Rebecca Parton was born on January 19, 1946, in Locust Ridge, Tennessee. Parton grew up poor in rural Appalachia. She was one of 12 children, and money was always an issue for her family. Her first exposure to music came from family members, including her mother, who sang and played guitar. At an early age, she also learned about music while performing in church.

Parton received her first guitar from a relative and soon began to pen her own tunes. At age 10, she started performing professionally, appearing on local television and radio shows in Knoxville. Parton made her Grand Ole Opry debut three years later. Set on a career in music, she then moved to Nashville after finishing high school.

Dolly Parton in 2011

Photo: Don Arnold/WireImage

Porter Wagoner, Solo Artist Success and “Jolene”

Parton’s singing career really started to take off in 1967. Around this time, she partnered with Porter Wagoner on The Porter Wagoner Show. Parton and Wagoner became a popular duo and the pair recorded a slew of country hits together. Much was made of her shapely curves, petite stature and warm personality, which to some belied a thoughtful, visionary artist with a strong business sense. Since her early career, Parton has protected the publishing rights to her catalog of songs, which has earned her millions in royalties.

“As soon as I could, I started my own publishing company, got my own record label. I think it’s important, if you can, to keep all of your goods close to home where you can control them and know what’s happening with them.” – Dolly Parton

Parton’s work with Wagoner also helped her land a contract with RCA Records. After having had several charting singles, Parton scored her first No. 1 country hit in 1971 with “Joshua,” a bluegrass-inspired track about two solitary figures who find love. More No. 1 hits followed in the mid-’70s, including “Jolene,” a haunting single in which a woman begs another beautiful woman not to take her man, and “I Will Always Love You” — a tribute to Wagoner as the two parted ways professionally. Other country hits from this era included the ethereal “Love Is Like a Butterfly,” the provocative “The Bargain Store,” the spiritual “The Seeker” and the rollicking “All I Can Do.” For the range of her compelling work, she won the Country Music Association award for female vocalist in 1975 and 1976.

In 1977, Parton had her first crossover smash with the bouncy, bittersweet ode to a returning lover, “Here You Come Again.” The song reached the top of the country charts as well as No. 3 on the pop charts, and also marked the singer/songwriter’s first Grammy Award, specifically for Best Country Vocal Performance, Female. More emotionally-driven No. 1 country hits followed including “It’s All Wrong, But It’s Alright,” “Heartbreaker” and “Starting Over Again,” a ballad written by disco star Donna Summer.

Film Debut and No. 1 Hit: ‘9 to 5’

Parton perhaps reached the apex of her mainstream success in the 1980s. She not only starred with Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin in the 1980 hit comedy 9 to 5, which marked her film debut but also contributed to its soundtrack. The title song, with one of the most memorable opening lines in popular music history, proved to be another No. 1 hit for Parton on both the pop and country charts and earned her an Academy Award nomination. Parton next starred with Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas in 1982, which helped to introduce a new generation to her song “I Will Always Love You.” The following year she scored another major smash with “Islands in the Stream,” her duet with Kenny Rogers.

Dolly Parton in 1993

Photo: Time Life Pictures/Getty Images


Around this time, Parton branched out in a new direction. She opened her own theme park called Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, in 1986. The amusement park remains a popular travel destination to this day.

‘I Will Always Love You’

Over the years, Parton has enjoyed many other successful collaborations. She recorded the Grammy Award-winning album Trio with Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt in 1987. In 1992, her song “I Will Always Love You” was recorded by Whitney Houston for the film The Bodyguard. Houston’s version catapulted Parton’s song into a new stratosphere of popularity, with the single sitting atop the pop charts for 14 weeks and becoming one of the bestselling singles of all time. “When Whitney did it, I got all the money for the publishing and for the writing, and I bought a lot of cheap wigs,” she told Anderson Cooper when he asked her how she spent her royalties from the song. Then in 1993, Parton teamed up with Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette for Honky Tonk Angels. Parton revisited her now-signature song, “I Will Always Love You,” in 1995 as a duet with Vince Gill.

READ MORE: The Surprising Connection Between Whitney Houston and Dolly Parton

Parton explored the music of her Appalachian roots with The Grass Is Blue (1999) with a little help from such talents as Alison Krauss and Patty Loveless. The record won a Grammy (Parton’s sixth) for best bluegrass album in 1999. Parton was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and won another Grammy the following year for the song “Shine” off the 2001 album Little Sparrow.

Continuing to write and record, Parton released Backwoods Barbie in 2008. The album featured two country singles, “Better Get to Livin'” and “Jesus & Gravity.” Parton got into a public feud with satellite radio shock jock Howard Stern around this time. She was upset after he aired a segment in which previous spoken recordings were manipulated to make it sound like she made obscene statements.

Dolly Parton’s cover of “I Will Always Love You”

Lifetime Honors and Screen Projects

In 2006, Parton received special recognition for her lifetime contributions to the arts as one of five artists feted at the annual Kennedy Center Honors. She also picked up a second Academy Award nomination for the song “Travelin’ Thru,” which appeared on the soundtrack for 2005’s Transamerica.

Over the years, Parton has continued to work as an actress in an array of films and TV projects that include Rhinestone (1984), Steel Magnolias (1989), Straight Talk (1992), Unlikely Angel (1996), Frank McKlusky, C.I. (2002) and Joyful Noise (2012), having also hosted her own variety show in both 1976 and 1987-88. At the 50th Annual Country Music Association Awards in 2016, Parton was honored as the recipient of the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award.

In early 2018, just before the music icon’s 72nd birthday, a Sony Music press release revealed that she was still setting records and sweeping up accolades. Along with receiving gold and platinum certification for some of her songs, Parton was to be honored with the Governors’ Award at the 32nd Midsouth Regional Emmy Awards. Additionally, she was recognized in the Guinness World Records 2018 edition for her accomplishments of most decades with a Top 20 hit on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart (six) and most hits on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart by a female artist (107).

Having already been honored by the Grammys with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011, Parton received another tribute during the February 2019 awards show, with artists like Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus and Kacey Musgraves joining her on stage to sing a medley of her hits. Later that year, Parton joined a televised special to celebrate her 50th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

Books and Biopics

After writing so many of her own hits, Parton penned the songs for a new musical based on her earlier hit workplace comedy, 9 to 5. The show, starring Allison Janney (who won a Tony for the role), ran on Broadway for several months in 2009.

Parton has showed no signs of slowing down. In 2011, she released Better Day, which fared well on the country album charts. In 2012, Parton published her book Dream More: Celebrate the Dreamer in You. She is also the author of the memoir Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business (1994).

“I think that I’ve been at this so long that come to know me, they know I’m not judgmental. They know I like everybody. I want to be accepted myself, and I not only accept, but celebrate, the difference in everyone.” – Dolly Parton

The TV movie Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors, a biopic about the singer’s childhood, aired in 2015. It starred Alyvia Alyn Lind as young Dolly and Sugarland star Jennifer Nettles as Parton’s mother. The next year, Parton had her first number 1 country album in more than 25 years with the set Pure & Simple, supported by a North American tour. The 2016 holiday season also saw the airing of the biopic sequel Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love.

In June 2018, Netflix announced plans for a Dolly Parton anthology series, with the iconic performer on board to executive produce and appear in select episodes. Heartstrings premiered in November 2019, with each of its eight episodes based on one of Parton’s songs.

Dolly Parton performing live onstage at the launch for her ‘Imagination Library’ literacy project.

Photo: Matt Kent/Redferns


Parton has worked with charitable organizations in support of numerous causes over the years and established her own Dollywood Foundation in 1996. With the goal of improving literacy among young children, she created Dolly’s Imagination Library, a program that donates more than 10 million books to children annually. “They call me the Book Lady. That’s what the little kids say when they get their books in the mail,” she told The Washington Post in 2006. “They think I bring them and put them in the mailbox myself, like Peter Rabbit or something.”

Though many of her charitable contributions are anonymous, Parton has used her success to give back to her community by providing scholarships for children, donating thousands to hospitals and providing technology and supplies for classrooms.

READ MORE: Why Dolly Parton Has Devoted Her Life to Helping Children Read

  • Name: Dolly Parton
  • Age: 74 years old
  • Height: 5ft 0in (153 cm)
  • Occupation: Singer
  • Net Worth: US $500 Million
  • Status: Alive

Dolly Parton is an American country singer, songwriter, actress and cultural icon. She’s known for timeless hits like “9 to 5”, “Here You Come Again” and “Two Doors Down.” Her discography includes 50 studio albums and 6 live albums. She was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1999. As an actress, Parton starred in the films Steel Magnolias (1989) and 9 to 5 (1980). She hosted the variety show ‘Dolly’ and she was a regular on The Porter Wagoner Show.

Parton was born on January 19, 1946, in Locust Ridge, Tennessee. Her parents were Avie Lee Caroline and Robert Lee Parton Sr. She grew up with 11 siblings. The family struggled financially to make ends meet. Parton started out singing in her local church. She moved to Nashville immediately after high school to pursue a career in music.

Parton started out as a songwriter for Combine Publishing on tracks like “Put It Off Until Tomorrow” and “Fuel to the Flame”. She was signed to “Monument Records” in 1965 and released her debut studio album ‘Hello, I’m Dolly’ in 1967. She later partnered with ‘Porter Wagoner’ on the television show ‘The Porter Wagoner Show (1967-74).’ In 1967, Parton signed to the ‘RCA Victor’ label and released her second album Just Because I’m a Woman (1968). She went on to release Billboard hits like “Coat of Many Colors”, “Jolene” and “I Will Always Love You”. She ventured into pop music from 1976-1986 but returned to her country roots in 1987.

Parton made her acting debut in the 1980 comedy film ‘9 to 5.’ She also contributed to the film’s soundtrack. Her other notable films include ‘The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982)’ and ‘Steel Magnolias (1989)’. She starred alongside Sylvester Stallone in the 1984 musical comedy film Rhinestone. Parton was cast as “G.G. Sparrow” in the musical-comedy drama Joyful Noise (2012). She had cameos in The Beverly Hillbillies (1993), Miss Congeniality 2 (2005) and Hollywood to Dollywood (2012). She voiced the character “Dolly Gnome” for Gnomeo & Juliet (2011).

In addition to music and television, Parton is a businesswoman and philanthropist. She’s a majority owner of ‘The Dollywood Company’ which is located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. It serves as an umbrella company for the Dollywood theme park and the Dollywood’s Splash Country water park among other ventures. Parton has done a lot of philanthropic work through her non-profit ‘Dollywood Foundation.’ Launched in 1988, the organization caters primarily to children and individuals in need. It offers scholarships, free books (Imagination Library) and more.

Dolly Parton is 5ft tall and she’s of English, Scottish, Irish and Welsh descent. Her net worth is estimated at $500 million USD. Parton married businessman ‘Carl Thomas Dean’ in May 1966. The two celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2016. Though they have no kids of their own, the couple does have several nieces and nephews. Parton is also the godmother of pop singer Miley Cyrus.

By Curtis Hilbun , via Wikimedia Commons

Dolly Parton Real Name, Birthday, Salary, Wiki

  • Real Name: Dolly Rebecca Parton
  • Birthday: January 19, 1946
  • How Old : Age: 74 years old
  • Place of Birth: Locust Ridge, Tennessee, United States
  • Zodiac Sign: Capricorn
  • How Tall : Height: 5ft 0in (153 cm)
  • Occupation: Singer, Songwriter, Actress
  • Years Active: 1955-present
  • Net Worth & Salary: US $500 Million
  • Marriage(s): Carl Thomas Dean
  • Death-O-Meter: Alive

Dolly Parton has been an icon in the country music community since she first started releasing music in the 60s. Her songs like the haunting “Jolene” and the upbeat work anthem “9 to 5” have been covered again and again due to their popularity, but no one can belt them out quite like Dolly.
Dolly’s talent spans so much farther than music, too. The 73-year-old is a force to be reckoned with in film and TV, and is even releasing her own Netflix series, Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings, in November 2019. Dolly also has a Hallmark Christmas movie that revolves around her Dollywood theme park, as well as a homeware line, a podcast that chronicles her rise to fame, and so much more. If that’s not legendary, we don’t know what is.
Next on Dolly’s list of to-dos is to host the CMA Awards alongside Reba McEntire and Carrie Underwood. In honor of this year’s beloved leader, we’re taking a look back at her life in photos—including the times before she became a big star, wed husband Carl Dean, and started sporting her signature big southern hairstyle. Yee-haw!

Dolly Parton Sings ‘Jolene,’ ‘9 To 5’ At Opry 50th Anniversary Special

Special guests and friends who joined in the big celebration for Parton included Emmylou Harris, Toby Keith, Hank Williams Jr., Dierks Bentley, Margo Price, Lady Antebellum, and Chris Janson. Lady Antebellum kicked off the two-hour special with a performance of “Islands In The Streams,” followed by Price’s take on “The Seeker,” Janson’s rendition of “Muleskinner Blues,” and Harris’s performance of her 1977 hit, “To Daddy.”

Of course, the night wouldn’t be complete without the star of the show taking the stage herself. Parton joked backstage that she chose to sing the classics “that people would kill me if I didn’t sing.” Those songs included “Jolene,” “9 to 5,” “Coat of Many Colors,” and “Here You Come Again.” Additionally, she performed her earlier hits, ‘Joshua” and “My Tennessee Mountain Home” along with Porter Wagoner’s “Carroll County Accident.”

“I have so many people to thank and some of those people are the fans who have stood by me all these years,” Parton said ahead of her closing song. “I moved here in 1964 and became a member of the Opry a few years later. Of course, it has been a wonderful life for me, and this song sums up how I feel about you. Thank you so much and I will always love you.”

Parton then delivered a powerful performance of “I Will Always Love You,” which received a standing ovation as the evening came to a close. Parton’s moving performances of “Jolene” and “Coat Of Many Colors” from her 50th Anniversary Grand Ole Opry show can be seen below. Huge congrats to the Queen of country music!

Grammys 2019: Watch Dolly Parton duet on ‘Jolene’ with Miley Cyrus and other stars

11 February 2019, 11:13 | Updated: 11 February 2019, 11:23

By Tom Eames

Dolly Parton showed her enduring star quality at last night’s Grammys with a medley of classic hits.

The country superstar sang a stunning version of her ‘Jolene’ with her famous goddaughter Miley Cyrus, to honour Dolly’s iconic career.

It wasn’t the first time Dolly and Miley had performed the song together. In 2016, Dolly invited Miley on stage for the 25th anniversary celebrations of Dollywood.

Dolly Parton and Miley Cyrus. Picture: Getty

This was Dolly’s first appearance at the Grammy Awards since 2001, and took to the stage as part of an all-star celebration of her work, including guests Kacey Musgraves, Little Big Town, Katy Perry and Maren Morris.

Perry and Musgraves sang on Dolly’s hit ‘Here You Come Again’, before Miley joined Dolly for a harmonising masterclass on ‘Jolene’.

Next, Maren Morris joined Miley and Dolly to sing a three-part harmony of Neil Young’s ‘After the Gold Rush’. Little Big Town then joined Dolly for ‘Red Shoes’, before Dolly closed it out with a burst of ‘9 to 5’.

Momento final del homenaje a Dolly en el que Miley acabó cantando con Dolly Parton, Katy Perry, Kacey Musgraves, Linda Perry, Maren Morris & Little Big Town la canción “9 to 5”.

— Miley Cyrus Noticias (@NoticiasSmilers) February 11, 2019

Also on the night, Diana Ross celebrated her upcoming 75th birthday with a special medley of hits.

Lady Gaga was among the winners at the Grammys, giving an emotional speech for triumphing with the soundtrack for A Star is Born.

Meanwhile, her co-star Bradley Cooper was on hand to accept a Bafta in London for Best Original Music.

Dolly Parton TV Special Celebrates Her 50 Years With Grand Ole Opry — or Is It 60?

Dolly Parton is celebrating a half-century of being an official Grand Ole Opry member with “: 50 Years at the Opry,” a two-hour special that airs tonight on NBC. But if you want to talk about how long she’s really been associated with the Opry, she’s not bashful about noting that you can actually tag another 10 years onto that number.

“A lot of people think this is my 50th year at the . It’s actually been 60, because the first time I got to sing on the Opry, I was 13 years old,” Parton explained at a press event before going into the auditorium to film the new special. “But then the night that I became a member after I was working with ‘The Porter Wagoner Show’ — and got to actually be a member 50 years ago this year — was one of the highlights of my whole life because it was a true dream of mine.”

Taped on Oct. 12 at the Opry House just outside of downtown Nashville, the special honoring Parton’s half-century mark as a member of the hallowed institution features performances by several of country music’s finest including Emmylou Harris, Lady Antebellum, Dierks Bentley, Margo Price and more. Parton closed out the Opry’s pair of shows celebrating her legacy, both of which sold out when tickets went on sale a year prior, with a handful of career-defining hits, including “Jolene,” “9 to 5” and “I Will Always Love You.”

While Parton was officially inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 1969 at the Opry’s original home of the Ryman Auditorium, her journey with the Opry dates back to childhood. Parton shared that growing up in the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee, her father was a loyal listener of the beloved country music-themed show that’s aired on WSM radio since 1925. She recalled memories of her and her uncle Bill Owens making the three-hour drive from her native Sevierville, Tenn. to Nashville to watch the Opry show backstage, Parton dreaming of one day performing on the stage herself.

“We’d come down to Nashville back and forth in an old, beat-up car, sleeping in the backseat, and go to the Grand Ole Opry, wait backstage, looking at all the greats. That was always my dream. My daddy loved the Grand Ole Opry, so we had to listen to it back home, and me dreaming of being on it and I just remember that being special.”

That dream became reality when she made her Opry debut as a teen in 1959, with Jimmy C. Newman giving up his spot one night so she could perform, with Johnny Cash introducing her on stage.

Throughout the anniversary special, artists across generations pay tribute Parton by performing selections from her storied catalogue. Lady Antebellum open the special with Parton’s iconic duet with Kenny Rogers, “Islands in the Stream,” which is one of the first songs they sang together at a karaoke bar in Nashville after forming as a trio in 2006. Harris, who collaborated with Parton and Linda Ronstadt on the 1987 album “Trio,” delivers a haunting acoustic rendition of “To Daddy,” while Price lends her angelic voice to “The Seeker.”

Parton’s own performances shine in between the musical homages, joking backstage that she chose to sing the classics “that people would kill me if I didn’t sing.” Her mere presence brought the packed Opry house to its feet as she made her way to the stage, opening her 30-minute set with the spirited feminist anthem “9 to 5.” Her eight-song set digs deep into her vast music vault, as she performs her first No. 1 single “Joshua” alongside the revered “Coat of Many Colors,” with Parton’s trademark wit on full display in the midst. “It costs a lot to look this cheap. That’s the best joke I have, but it’s the honest truth,” she says, reviving a joke almost as familiar as her greatest hits. She also includes a nod to her mentor Wagoner, who helped bring her into the limelight as his duet partner on “The Porter Wagoner Show” in the 1970s, even inviting his banjo player Buck Trent on stage to help her perform a cover of one of her favorite Wagoner songs, “The Carroll County Accident.”

“I just have so many memories, even as a child watching the people backstage and just standing out there on that stage where all the great people stood, just thinking maybe some day I could be part of them. Now that I’ve been lucky enough and fortunate enough to see that dream come true, I wonder if some little kid might say ‘I bet Dolly Parton once stood here’ or ‘I’m standing where Dolly Parton stood,’ when I used to think ‘I’m standing where Kitty Wells stood,’” Parton said. “So that’s what makes you thankful, that’s what makes you grateful and humble about the fact that everybody’s dreams don’t come true, and I have been so fortunate to see so many of my dreams come true, and I don’t take any of it for granted. As I often say, ‘I count my blessings a lot more than I count my money.’”

The special also features a segment with Parton across town at the former home of the Opry, the Ryman, reflecting on special memories from her career with vintage clips and acoustic covers of country classics by Hank Williams and Maybelle Carter. As she ends the special with the iconic “I Will Always Love You,” the song famously inspired by her professional separation from Wagoner that she now uses as a dedication to her fans, along with an encore of “9 to 5” that once again brings the audience to its feet, the celebration is one of the many ways Parton measures her legacy and impact.

“You never know what’s going to happen to you in your life. You never know if your dreams are going to come true, and if they do, you wonder how people will remember you when you’re older. I’m older, and I’m seeing how people are remembering me and that makes me feel very humble. I’m just very honored that I’m still around not only to just get to accept this, that I can actually perform and get out there and still doing what I love to do,” she reflects. “Maybe I’ll be around another 50 years.”

“Dolly Parton: 50 Years at the Opry” airs on NBC tonight at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

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