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Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton (born January 19, 1946) is an American country singer, songwriter, composer and actress.

She was born Dolly Rebecca Parton in Sevierville, Tennessee, the fourth of twelve children born to Robert Lee Parton and Alvy Lee Owens, and grew up in a one-room cabin.

Parton began her entertainment career as a child, singing on local radio and television in East Tennessee. She also recorded on a small label and appeared at the Grand Ole Opry. When she graduated from high school in 1964 she moved to Nashville, taking many traditional folkloric elements and popular music from East Tennessee with her.

On May 30, 1966, she and Carl Dean, who ran an asphalt-paving business, were married in Ringgold, Georgia. She has remained with the same husband, who has always shunned publicity and stayed in the background.

She initially signed with Monument Records, where she recorded a series of singles that failed to chart, before finally having a hit with "Dumb Blonde" (one of the few songs she recorded during this period that she did not write herself), which reached the country top 20 in 1967.

That same year, Parton was asked to join the weekly syndicated country music TV program hosted by Porter Wagoner, with whom she became half of a highly successful duet team. She also signed with RCA Records, Wagoner's label, during this period, where she would she remain for the next two decades. Their first single together, a cover of Tom Paxton's "The Last Thing on My Mind," reached the top ten on the U.S. country charts in late 1967, and was the first of over a dozen duet singles to chart for them during the next several years. She stayed with the Wagoner show and continued to record duets with him until 1974, then made a break to become a solo artist.

She is a hugely successful songwriter, having begun by writing country songs with strong elements of folk music in them based upon her upbringing in humble mountain surroundings. Her songs "Coat of Many Colors" and "Jolene" have become classics in the field, as have a number of others.

In 1974, her song "I Will Always Love You" was released and went to #1 on the country charts, though the single did not "crossover" to the pop charts (as "Jolene" had done). Around the same time, Elvis Presley indicated that he 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 Elvis recorded the song (as was the standard procedure for songs Elvis recorded). Parton refused and that decision is credited with helping make her many millions of dollars in royalties from the song over the years.

During the mid-1970s, Dolly had her eyes set on expanding her audience base. The first step towards meeting this goal was her attempt a variety show, Dolly. The show lasted merely one season, with Dolly asking out of her contract due to the stress it was causing her vocal chords.

Despite originally being typecast in many circles as a "Country and Western" singer, Parton later had even greater commercial success as a pop singer and actress. Her 1977 single "Here You Come Again" became her first top-ten single on the pop charts, and many of her subsequent singles charted on both pop and country charts simultaneously.

In 1980, Jane Fonda decided Parton was a perfect candidate for her upcoming film, 9 to 5. She was looking for a brassy Southern woman for a supporting role and felt the singer was perfect. Parton was signed, and went on to steal the notices and score a major hit with the title song.

She wrote and performed "9 to 5," which earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song. She received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Song - Motion Picture. And she won two Grammy Awards, for Best Female Country Vocal Performance and Best Country Song. It reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was also #78 on American Film Institute's 100 years, 100 songs.

She also received Golden Globe nominations for Best Motion Picture Actress - Musical/Comedy and New Star of the Year in a Motion Picture - Female.

Parton was very selective about her future film material, and had successes opposite Burt Reynolds in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982), for which she received another Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical, and in the supporting role as Truvy in Steel Magnolias (1989) co-starring Sally Field, Shirley MacLaine, Daryl Hannah, Olympia Dukakis, and Julia Roberts.

In 1982, she recorded a second version of "I Will Always Love You" for The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas; the second version proved to be another #1 country hit and also managed to reach the pop charts, going to #53 in the United States.

In 1986, she was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

The following year, along with Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt, she released the decade-in-the-making Trio album to critical acclaim. Also in 1987, Parton switched record labels, moving from RCA to Columbia Records, and took a second stab at her own TV variety show, also titled Dolly, which lasted only one season.

Parton has also done voice work for animation, such as playing herself in the TV series Alvin & the Chipmunks (episode: Urban Chipmunk) (1987) and her voice role as Katrina Eloise "Murph" Murphy in The Magic School Bus (episode: The Family Holiday Special) (1996).

Standing at 5 feet (152 cm), Parton's physical trademark is her large bust. She has often mocked this reputation with quips such as "I would have burned my bra in the 60s, but it would have taken the fire department three days to put it out," or "The reason I have a small waist and small feet is that nothing grows well in the shade."

In 1992, "I Will Always Love You" was performed by Whitney Houston on The Bodyguard soundtrack. Houston's version became the best-selling hit ever written and performed by a female vocalist, with worldwide sales of $12,000,000. As Parton owned the song, she raked in huge profits from Houston's cover. The song was also covered by music legend Kenny Rogers on his 1997 album "Always and Forever," which sold over 4 million copies worldwide.

Parton's last starring role in a film was in 1992's Straight Talk, opposite James Woods. She played the plainspoken host of a radio program that has people phoning-in with problems. She later played an overprotective mother in Frank McKlusky, C.I. with Dave Sheridan, Cameron Richardson, and Randy Quaid.

After being dropped by country radio stations' playlists in the mid-1990s, she rediscovered her roots by recording a series of critically acclaimed bluegrass albums, including Grammy-winning "Little Sparrow" (2001), which was the theme tune of the very popular movie of the same name. Her 2002 album "Halos and Horns" included a bluegrass version of the Led Zeppelin classic Stairway to Heaven.

Parton is a shrewd businesswoman. She invested much of her earnings into business ventures in her native East Tennessee, notably Pigeon Forge, which includes a theme park named Dollywood and a dinner show called Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede, resulting in a thriving tourism industry that draws visitors from large parts of the Southeastern and Midwestern United States, notably Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio. This region of the U.S., like most areas of Appalachia, traditionally has been characterized by economic poverty. Thus, Parton put something back into the community where she was born and raised.

She has reportedly turned down several offers to pose for Playboy magazine and similar publications. Although she has admitted to having some amounts of cosmetic surgery (notably a breast lift), rumors that she had breast augmentation surgery remain unsubstantiated.

Parton, alongside Johnny Cash, is one of the few country stars to be admired and acclaimed by fans from all walks of life. She said that she has long admired the look of some outcasts from society (such as prostitutes, whose long fingernails and big blonde wigs inspired her), which has continued into her adult years.

Her work of the late 1990s and beyond has moved towards bluegrass and more traditional folk styles.

She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 6712 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood; a star on the Nashville Star Walk for Grammy winners; and a bronze sculpture on the courthouse lawn in Sevierville, Tennessee.

Dolly Parton was awarded the Living Legend medal by the U.S. Library of Congress on April 14, 2004, for her contributions to the cultural heritage of the United States.

Hit singles
  • 1970 "Joshua" #108 U.S. (#1 COUNTRY)
  • 1971 "Coat of Many Colors" (#4 COUNTRY)
  • 1972 "Touch Your Woman" (#6 COUNTRY)
  • 1973 "Jolene" #44 U.S. (#1 COUNTRY)
  • 1974 "I Will Always Love You" (#1 COUNTRY)
  • 1974 "Please Don't Stop Loving Me" (#1 COUNTRY)
  • 1975 "The Bargain Store" #35 U.S. (#1 COUNTRY)
  • 1977 "Here You Come Again" #3 U.S. (#1 COUNTRY)
  • 1978 "Two Doors Down" #19 U.S.
  • 1978 "Heartbreaker" #12 U.S. (#1 COUNTRY)
  • 1979 "Baby I'm Burning" #25 U.S.
  • 1979 "You're the Only One" (#1 COUNTRY)
  • 1980 "Starting Over Again" #35 U.S. (#1 COUNTRY)
  • 1980 "Old Flames Can't Hold a Candle to You" (#1 COUNTRY)
  • 1981 "9 to 5" #1 U.S. (#1 COUNTRY)
  • 1981 "But You Know I Love You" #41 U.S. (#1 COUNTRY)
  • 1982 "I Will Always Love You" (1982 recording) #53 U.S. (#1 COUNTRY)
  • 1983 "Islands in the Stream" (with Kenny Rogers) #1 U.S., #7 UK (#1 COUNTRY)
  • 1984 "Tennessee Homesick Blues" (#1 COUNTRY)
  • 1985 "Real Love" (#1 COUNTRY)
  • 1986 "Think About Love" (#1 COUNTRY)
  • 1987 "To Know Him is to Love Him" (with Emmylou Harris) and Linda Ronstadt) (#4 COUNTRY)
  • 1988 "Wildflowers" (with Emmylou Harris) and Linda Ronstadt) (#1 COUNTRY)
  • 1989 "Why'd Ya' Come In Here Lookin' Like That?" (#1 COUNTRY)
  • 1989 "Yellow Roses" (#1 COUNTRY)
  • 1991 "Rockin' Years" (#1 COUNTRY)
Charting albums
  • 1978 "Heartbreaker" #27 U.S.
  • 1978 "Here You Come Again" #20 U.S.
  • 1978 "Dolly Parton/Both Sides" #24 UK
  • 1979 "Great Balls of Fire" #40 U.S.
  • 1981 "9 to 5 and Odd Jobs" #11 U.S.
  • 1991 "Eagle When She Flies" #24 U.S.
  • 1993 "Honky Tonk Angels" #42 U.S.
  • 1993 "Slow Dancing with the Moon" #16 U.S.
  • 1997 "A Life in Music - Ultimate Collection" #38 UK
  • 2001 "Little Sparrow" #30 UK
  • 2001 "Gold - The Hits Collection" #23 UK
  • 2002 "Halos & Horns" #37 UK
  • 2003 "Ultimate" #17 UK
Filmography
  • 9 to 5 (1980) ... Doralee Rhodes
  • The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982) ... Mona Stangley
  • Rhinestone (1984) ... Jake
  • Steel Magnolias (1989) ... Truvy Jones
  • Straight Talk (1992) ... Shirlee Kenyon
  • The Beverly Hillbillies (1993) ... cameo as herself
  • Frank McKlusky, C.I. (2002) ... Edith McKlusky
  • Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous (2005) .. cameo as herself
TV filmography
  • A Smoky Mountain Christmas (1986) ... Lorna Davis
  • Wild Texas Wind (1991) ... Thiola "Big T" Rayfield
  • Unlikely Angel (1996) ... Ruby Diamond
  • Blue Valley Songbird (1999) ... Leanna Taylor
TV series
  • Heavens to Betsy (1994) (comedy) ... regular
  • Mindin' My Own Business (1996) (comedy) ... regular
TV music & variety
  • The Porter Wagoner Show (1967-1974) (country music) ... regular singer
  • Dolly (1976) (variety) ... host
  • Dolly (1987-1988) (variety) ... host
Documentaries
  • The Nashville Sound (1970)
  • Heartsong (1995)
  • Our Country (2002)
  • Uncut: The True Story of Hair (2002)
Trivia
  • The first cloned mammal was a sheep named "Dolly" in honor of Dolly Parton, because it was cloned from a mammary cell.

This biography was taken verbatim from the Wikipedia. We're providing a snapshot just in case the Wikipedia servers were temporarily unreacheable. The original page is not only much more up-to-date, it also features links to other pages and sites. This snapshot was last updated: 07/19/2005. (mm/dd/yyyy)

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