Dolly Parton, iconic singer-songwriter and country music legend, has not only gained worldwide success in music, but also as an actress and humanitarian. She has won many awards, including seven Grammy Awards and 10 Country Music Association Awards.
Dolly Parton was born on Jan. 19, 1946, in Locust Ridge, Tennessee to Robert Lee Parton, a tobacco farmer, and Avie Lee Parton. She was first introduced to music by her mother, who was also a singer. As a child she learned music by singing in church.
At age 12, Parton made her first ever television appearance on Knoxville TV in 1959. And a year later, at 13, she made her recording debut with a small label and also gave her first performance at the Grand Old Opry. By then she knew that she wanted to make a career in country singing. However, she wanted to finish school first.
Soon after high school graduation, Parton moved to Nashville. There she met a young man named Carl Dean whom she married in May 1966. Talking about her partner she said: “He’s good for me, cause he’s so different in nature from me.”
In late 1965, Parton signed with Monument Records as a pop singer. But she earned just one national pop chart single, “Happy, Happy Birthday Baby.” However, when Monument permitted her to sing country songs, she started moving up in the charts.
In 1967, Parton released her debut album “Hello, I’m Dolly.” The same year she was invited by country music singer Porter Wagoner to join his weekly show, “The Porter Wagoner Show.” The duo’s first single, “The Last Thing on my Mind,” made the top ten of the country charts.
More and more success followed for Parton as she started singing many more duets with Wagoner and also appeared with his group at the Grand Ole Opry. Parton, who stayed with the show for seven years, had 14 Top Ten hits with Wagoner. They also toured extensively.
After Parton’s single “Joshua” (1970) reached No.1, she decided to work solo. By 1974, Parton left Wagoner to become a fully fledged solo artist. The same year, she released the song, “I Will Always Love You,” which topped the country charts twice — in June 1974 and Oct. 1982.
Gradually, she started gaining worldwide popularity, both as a singer and a songwriter. She claimed several Country Music Association awards, between 1968-1976. She was also named the CMA Entertainer of the Year in 1978.
The title track of her album “Here You Come Again” (1977) became her first top ten single in the pop charts. For the same track, she also claimed her first Grammy award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance in 1979.
In the mid-1970s, Parton started to expand her fan base by appearing on television. In 1976, her own show titled “Dolly” premiered: it received high ratings but only lasted one season, owing to the pressure and stress caused to her vocal cords.
She made her big screen debut in the comedy film “Nine to Five’” (1980) and played the role of Doralee Rhodes opposite Jane Fonda (R) and Lily Tomlin (C). Her performance earned her Golden Globe nominations for Best Motion Picture Actress: Musical/Comedy and for New Star in a Motion Picture: Female. The film’s title track, written and performed by Parton, was nominated for Academy Award for Best Original Song. The title track also won two Grammy awards for Best Country Song and for Best Female Country Vocal Performance.
Later, she starred in musical comedies, “The Best Little W—-house in Texas” (1982) and “Rhinestone’” (1984). In 1988, Parton’s album “Trio” (1987) won a Grammy award for Best Country Performance Duo or Group: it guest-starred Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt.
In 1986, Parton opened her own theme park called Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, at the base of the Great Smoky Mountains. In 2006, it was named one of the top three theme parks in the world.
In 1989, Parton portrayed Truvy Jones in the highly praised film “Steel Magnolias” (1989). The film also starred Sally Field, Shirley MacLaine, Olympia Dukakis, Daryl Hannah and Julia Roberts.
In 1990, she was awarded an honorary doctorate from Carson-Newman College. The CMA gave the very first ‘Country Music Honors Award’ in to Parton in 1993.
Throughout the ’90s, apart from “Straight Talk” (1992) and “The Beverly Hillbillies” (1993), Parton appeared only in TV movies and series. In the mid-1990s, Parton moved from country to bluegrass music and released the Grammy Award-winning albums “The Grass is Blue’” (1999) and “Little Sparrow” (2001).
In 1993, Parton — in association with Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette — released an album entitled “Honky Tonk Angels.” The album featured covers of country classics from singers such as Patsy Cline and Kitty Wells.
The actress and singer has also lent her voice for a few animated television series, including “Alvin & the Chipmunks” (1987), “The Magic School Bus” (1994) and “The Simpsons” (1999).
In 1994, Parton released her autobiography “Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business,” which became a New York Times bestseller.
In 1999, Parton was inducted in the Country Music Hall of Fame. She also has her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2003, she was honored with the Icon Award by Broadcast Music, Inc. and in 2004, with the Living Legend Award by the U.S. Library of Congress. In 2005, she earned the National Medal of Arts, the highest honor given by the U.S. government for excellence in the arts.
For the song “Travelin’ Thru” from the film “Transamerica” (2005), Parton received her second Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song. Over the years, Parton’s music has gone on to feature in many films and has been covered by other artists, such as Kenny Rogers, Whitney Houston, Shania Twain, Sinead O’Connor and Norah Jones.
Apart from music and acting, Parton has shown great success as an entrepreneur. She heads Dolly Parton Enterprises and co-owns a television and film production company, Sandollar Productions, which has created hit TV shows and films including “Babes,” (1990) “Sabrina,” (1995) and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (1997). She also owns her own successful record label, Dolly Records.
In December 2006, Parton was honored by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for her lifetime of contributions to the arts. In June 2007, she was announced as the recipient of the prestigious Johnny Mercer Award from the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame.
The legendary singer is well-known for supporting many charitable causes, mostly in the area of literacy. Her literacy program, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, which is a part of the Dollywood Foundation, provides free books to almost 850,000 children every month across the U.S., Canada, the UK, and Australia.
In 2006, the country singer wrote the score for a Broadway production of “Nine to Five,” and also wrote a children’s book, “I am a Rainbow.”
In 2008, Parton released the album “Backwoods Barbie.” A year later, deeply saddened by the death of her close friend Michael Jackson, Parton made a video tribute to the singer. The same year she released a four-disc album that consisted of 99 songs recorded throughout her career.
In 2011, Parton went on the Better Day World Tour to promote her next album entitled “Better Day.” She performed 49 shows in the U.S., northern Europe and Australia.
In 2014, Parton released her latest album, “Blue Smoke,” and accompanied it with a world tour — across the U.S., Europe, and Australia.
In June 2014, the country singer performed at the UK Glastonbury Festival performing songs such as “9 to 5″and “Coat of Many Colors.” In the same year, the 1973 song “Jolene” was added to the Grammy Hall of Fame.
On Dec. 10, 2015, the TV movie “Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors,” based on the story of the singer’s life, was released.
At the 50th Annual Country Music Awards Show on Nov. 2, 2016, she received the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award. In the same year, “Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love” a sequel to the first movie, was released.
In 2016, the singer revealed through a video message that she formed the “My People Fund” with the support of her Dollywood Foundation to donate each family affected by the 2016 Great Smoky Mountain wildfires in Tennessee, U.S. with $1,000 for six months.
Dolly Parton says the coronavirus pandemic has taught her to be a “better friend”.
The 74-year-old singer penned a new song, ‘When Life is Good Again’, to give comfort to her fans amidst the current health crisis.
On the track, she sings: “When life is good again, I’ll be a better friend.
“More thoughtful than I’ve been, I’ll be so different then. More in the moment when life is good again.”
Meanwhile, Dolly previously revealed she is donating $1 million toward coronavirus cure research as the respiratory illness continues to spread across the globe and claim the lives of thousands.
In tweets posted last month, Dolly wrote: “My longtime friend Dr. Naji Abumrad, who’s been involved in research at Vanderbilt for many years, informed me that they were making some exciting advancements towards research of the coronavirus for a cure. I am making a donation of $1 million to Vanderbilt towards that research and to encourage people that can afford it to make donations. (sic)”
The ‘9 to 5’ hitmaker recently said she believes the coronavirus pandemic is a “lesson” from God.
In an Instagram video, she sang: “Well hello it’s Dolly, climbing the stairway to heaven, because the virus has scared the h-e-l-l out of us.”
She then laughed: “I’m not making light of the situation. Well, maybe I am, because it’s the light, I believe that’s gonna dissolve the situation.
“I think God is in this, I really do. I think he’s trying to hold us up to the light so we can see ourselves and see each other through the eyes of love. And I hope we learn that lesson.”
And Dolly also assured fans people will be in a “better” place once the current situation is over.
She added: “I think that when this passes, we’re gonna all be better people. I know that I have a positive attitude about it, as negative as it seems to be right now. So just keep the faith, don’t be too scared, it’s gonna be alright, God loves us.”
Related slideshow: Coronavirus outbreak (Provided by Photo Services)
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People wear face masks and sit on designated seats on a metro car as a preventive measure, in Medellin, Colombia, on May 4.
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Municipal workers disinfect the streets to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Villa Nueva, Guatemala, on April 30.
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People wearing face masks form a queue to enter an office building in Beijing, China, on April 28.
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Medical personnel jump in the air in the COVID-19 unit of the CHR Centre Hospitalier Regional de la Citadelle Hospital in Liege, Belgium, on April 22.
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A nearly empty freeway intersection is seen in Pasadena, California, U.S., on April 20.
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Visitors at Sydney Fish Market have their temperature checked before being allowed access, in Australia, on April 10.
Special Task Force (STF) personnel wearing protective gear spray disinfectant outside the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on April 10.
A woman wears a self-made protective body covering with built-in mask in Gdynia, Poland, on April 9.
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People wearing face masks peek from windows of the Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital in Hubei province, China, on April 9.
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Medical workers walk by a police robot at the Wuhan Tianhe International Airport in China, after travel restrictions to leave the city were lifted, on April 8.
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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison delivers a ministerial statement on COVID-19 in the House of Representatives in Canberra, Australia, on April 8.
Travelers line up with their belongings outside the Hankou Railway Station after travel restrictions to leave Wuhan, China, were lifted, on April 8.
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A healthcare worker wearing protective gear is seen during a test for the coronavirus (COVID-19) outside a stadium in Bogor, Indonesia, on April 7.
An artist paints a mural on a wall in Pontefract, England, on April 6.
A resident picks up a box with food given to them by the army, at the Santa Rosita neighborhood on the outskirts of Guatemala City, Gautemala, on April 6, during a stay-at-home curfew designed to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Municipal workers wearing protective suits spray disinfectant in Grozny, Russia, on April 6.
Staff members of a hospital carry candles and oil lamps to show solidarity with people who are affected by the coronavirus disease, and with doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers from all over the world during a 21-day nationwide lockdown, in Kolkata, India, on April 5.
A volunteer woman wearing a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of the coronavirus sews face masks in a mosque in Tehran, Iran, on April 5.
Pope Francis celebrates Palm Sunday mass behind closed doors, during a lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19, in St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, on April 5.
A devotee stands next to palm fronds and religious icons placed on a table outside her home, as part of Palm Sunday celebrations in Quezon City, Philippines, on April 5.
A person wearing a personal protective equipment (PPE) suit exits the Elmhurst Hospital center, as the outbreak of coronavirus disease continues, in New York City, New York, U.S., on April 5.
A motorist rides through a disinfection tunnel during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against COVID-19, in Chennai, India, on April 5.
Residents receive free reusable masks distributed by the government at a community center, as stricter measures are announced to combat the outbreak of the COVID-19 in Singapore, on April 5.
People wearing face masks, amid concerns of the COVID-19 disease, commute on a train in Hong Kong on April 4.
A man walks in the middle of empty Westminster Bridge, as the spread of COVID-19 continues, in London, England, on April 3.
A couple, wearing masks to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, is seen waiting at Independence square in Quito, Ecuador, on April 3.