Hello, Dolly!

July 17, 2019

Is there a person alive who doesn’t like Dolly Parton? Here are some interesting facts about her.

Just Dolly

The name Dolly is often a nickname or “diminutive” of a more formal first name, particularly Dorothy or Dolores. Not for Dolly Parton. Her real first name is Dolly.

First acting roles

After a successful career as a singer and TV performer in the ‘60s and ‘70s, Parton took on her first acting role with the hit 1980 dark comedy 9 to 5. When ABC turned the show into a sitcom in 1982, Parton was too busy to reprise her role as Doralee Roberts, so producers cast someone very close to Dolly: her sister, Rachel Dennison.

No Oscar yet

Parton has never won an Oscar, although she’s been nominated twice for Best Original Song for writing “9 to 5” from 9 to 5 and “Travelin’ Thru” from Transamerica. However, she did have a hand in making an Academy Award-winning documentary. She co-produced the 1989 Oscar winner Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt.


More than three million people visit Parton’s sprawling, Tennessee theme park complex Dollywood each year. That makes it the 24th-most-visisted amusement park in the U.S.

Struggling TV projects

Despite her popularity, and experience as the co-star of The Porter Waggoner Show, which launched her to fame, Parton struggled to draw viewers to her solo TV projects. In 1976 and 1988, she starred on variety shows named Dolly, both of which lasted just one year. Nevertheless, in 1993, Fox approached Parton about hosting a late-night talk show. She declined, but recommended somebody else for the job. That person took the job…and The Chevy Chase Show went on to flop so hard it lasted just six weeks on the air.

Signature songs

“I Will Always Love You” is among Parton’s signature songs. She wrote it upon leaving The Porter Waggoner Show, to thank Waggoner for all that he had done for her. Elvis Presley, the King himself, wanted to record the song, but he and manager Colonel Tom Parker insisted that Parton give up partial publishing rights — and royalties. Dolly refused.

Imagination Library

In 1995, Dolly Parton founded a literacy-building charity called Imagination Library. It offers books to kids up to the age of five in the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia…for free. Each month, the organization sends out a million books to kids around the world.


Parton generally wears long, sleeved gowns, so it’s not widely known that she has quite a few tattoos. She got them to cover up scars and scar tissue that left a purple hue on her skin. Dolly’s tattoos: mostly pastel-colored little works of art.