Country music’s biggest sweetheart celebrated her 75th birthday on January 19, 2021, to much fanfare. Dolly Parton is only 5 feet tall, but this legendary American entertainer has built up a towering career as a singer, songwriter, and actress.
Not only is Dolly Parton known for her amazing vocals and acting talent, but she is also respected as a professional businesswoman and a charitable philanthropist who has touched the lives of millions of fans around the world.
35 Fun Facts You May Not Know About Dolly Parton
1. Dolly Owns More than 300 Wigs
When you see Dolly Parton, there is a good chance that she may be wearing a wig. She said that she loves to have the wigs around so that she never has to worry about having a bad hair day.
2. Proud to be Godmother to Miley Cyrus
Dolly Parton is proud to be the godmother to another budding singer and songwriter, Miley Cyrus, who was known for roles such as Disney’s Hannah Montana. Billy Ray Cyrus was such a fan of his good friend that he asked her to be the godmother of his daughter.
3. A True Rag to Riches Story
Dolly Parton was not born with a silver spoon in her mouth. She grew up in a tiny one-bedroom cabin in the Great Smoky Mountains area of Sevierville, Tennessee, a place that you can still visit today after Dolly renovated it. Her parents, Avie Lee Owens Parton and Robert Lee Parton had 12 children in this small home.
4. “Jolene” Was Inspired by a Flirty Bank Teller
Dolly Parton loves to tell the story of how her iconic hit song “Jolene” was inspired by a flirtatious redhead bank teller. She laughs when she talks about how the teller would flirt with her husband, Carl Thomas Dean.
5. She Has Been Married for Over 50 Years
Carl Dean and Dolly Parton have been married for over 50 years. The pair loves to recount the story of how they met outside of the Wishy-Washy Laundromat on the first day that Dolly was living in Nashville, Tennessee to pursue her dream.
6. Dolly is an Early Bird
Dolly Parton wakes up nearly every day at 3 am to get her day started. During this quiet time, she answers emails, meditates, makes phone calls, and immerses herself in her spiritual side.
7. She is a Librarian
In an effort to promote childhood literacy, she founded Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Sevier County, Tennessee in 1995. The books are sent to children all over the country as well as to Canada, the UK, and Australia.
8. Dolly Claims to Sleep in Her Makeup
Dolly Parton claims the secret to her beautiful skin is that she sleeps in her makeup and only washes it off in the morning before she can apply it again. She said that she always wants to be ready to show her face all done up.
9. She Has Tattoos
Dolly Parton has admitted to having a few hidden tattoos on her body where most people would never see them. She said that the tattoos were designed to cover up scars on her skin.
10. She Wrote a Cookbook
It is no surprise to those who follow Dolly to know that she loves to cook. What many may not know is that she published her own cookbook of over 125 of her favorite Southern recipes called “Dolly’s Dixie Fixin’s: Love, Laughter and Lots of Good Food.”
11. Dolly Goes for Pie Over Cake
When it comes to celebrating her birthday, Dolly Parton said that she would rather indulge in a birthday pie over a birthday cake. Her favorite type of pie is the classic chess pie.
12. She Has a Whopping Net Worth
Given her great success, it is not shocking to learn that Dolly Parton has a net worth of well over $600 million. She has made most of her money in country music, film, through her wildly successful Dollywood theme park, and even after launching her own fashion line.
13. Johnny Cash was Her Crush
Before she married her husband, Dolly Parton she took a liking to Johnny Cash. She said her crush on Cash began when she was a teen after she first saw him sing at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry.
14. She Follows a Low-Carb Diet
Dolly credits her low-carb diet for her trim figure. While she admits that she has a weak spot for junk food, she tries to stay low carb for most of her meals to keep herself in check.
15. She Does Not Ride the Attractions at Dollywood
Dolly Parton opened her famous theme park, Dollywood, in 1986 in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. However, according to the New York Times, she claims that she does not ride the attractions at the amusement park because they tend to aggravate her motion sickness.
16. She Loves to Sleep on Her Tour Bus
Dolly is not a fan of having to unpack at hotels every night when she is on tour. Instead, she much prefers the convenience of simply sleeping on her tour bus.
17. Dolly is One of 12 Kids
To say that Dolly comes from a big family is an understatement. She is the fourth oldest of 12 kids: Stella, Larry, Randy, Rachel, Willadeene, David, Coy, Robert Lee, Floyd, Cassie, and Freida.
18. A Cloned Sheep was Named After Dolly
One of Dolly’s most unique claims to fame is that the world’s first cloned animal was named after her. The sheep named Dolly was cloned in 1996, signifying a major breakthrough in the world of medical science and innovation.
19. The Comedy “9 to 5” Marked her Acting Debut
Dolly Parton made her acting debut alongside Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda in the hit film “9 to 5.” In addition to playing the role of Doralee Rhodes, she also performed the title track song. In 2008, she created a musical version of the comedy. The musical version of “9 to 5” earned four Tony Award nominations.
20. Fireflies Light the Way at Night
When Dolly Parton was a child, her family was so poor that their home did not have running water or electricity. Instead, Dolly and her siblings would capture fireflies and put them in mason jars to light their rooms at night.
21. Dolly Parton Wrote “Jolene” and “I Will Always Love You” at the Same Time
Dolly mentioned as she was going through older cassette tapes these two songs were on one of them back to back. Since she filled tapes up pretty quickly, she seems to think they were written at the same time or at least within a day or two of each other.
22. Her First Christmas Album in 30 years was Released in 2020
Dolly Parton released “A Holly Dolly Christmas” in 2020, which is something she has not done since the 1990s.
23. Dolly’s Reaction to Whitney Houston’s Version of a Song
When being interviewed, Dolly mentioned that she had to pull over on the side of the road when she first heard Whitney Houston’s version of “I Will Always Love You.” She was amazed at how well the musician performed her song. Dolly had originally written the song for Porter Wagoner in 1973.
24. Dolly Parton has had More Than 20 Songs on the Billboard Charts
From her first #1 hit “Joshua” to more than 20 other singles, Dolly has topped the Billboard country music charts for many years. Her work as a country singer over the years has been phenomenal.
25. She Once Lost a Dolly Parton Lookalike Contest
When she entered the contest she made her hair and makeup a bit over the top. Because of this, she ended up losing the contest to a drag queen who reportedly made a better Dolly.
26. She Turned Down Elvis Presley to Record One of Her Songs
After hearing the song for the first time, Elvis Presley wanted to record it. When his manager and Dolly were in talks about it, he mentioned that they would take half the publishing rights to the song if the deal was made. This was a deal-breaker for Dolly as this was her legacy and inheritance she would leave for her family.
27. Dolly Parton Has Earned Many Awards in Her Career
Throughout her career and her many hit songs, Dolly Parton has earned many awards. From her Grammy Awards to People’s Choice Awards, Dolly has claimed titles such as Entertainer of the Year, Top Country Female Artist, and many more. She was also inducted into the Country Music and Songwriters Hall of Fame.
28. Dolly Made History on the Billboard Hot Country Songs Chart
With her chart-topping songs in every decade from the 1960s through the 2010s, Dolly made history as the first one to do so. She was also recognized by the Guinness World Records for this honor as the female artist with the most hits on the charts.
29. The Dollywood Foundation is Yet Another Way Dolly Gives Back to Her Community
The foundation, which started in 1988 and has grown since was initially created to inspire children to be successful in school. Part of this foundation is the Dolly Parton Scholarship that is given to high school students each year to help them attend and pay for college.
30. Her Los Angeles, California bungalow was Listed for Sale in 2014 for $1.4 Million
A very eclectic bungalow-style house that Dolly owned in West Hollywood was listed in 2014 when the singer and songwriter decided to sell off some of her property in the Los Angeles area.
31. Dolly Parton Has Performed Duets with Many Top Artists
With artists such as Julio Iglesias, Kenny Rogers, Porter Wagoner, Vince Gill, and many others, Dolly Parton performed many duets in her career.
32. She Has Done More than 400 Guest Appearances on TV Shows
From Designing Women to Hannah Montana, Dolly Parton has been a guest on many television shows throughout the years. In addition to these, she has appeared on talk shows such as Johnny Carson as well.
33. There is a Mural of Dolly Parton in Knoxville, Tennessee
In the area known as Strong Alley, or Artist Alley in downtown Knoxville, is a mural of Dolly Parton, which was completed in 2019 by Colton Valentine.
34. Dolly’s Coat of Many Colors Aired on NBC in 2015
This show, which was based on the life of Dolly Parton, focused on the struggles and upbringing of her family.
35. Dolly Parton Honored with Netflix Tribute
In April of 2021, Netflix released a tribute to this sensational musical icon called: Dolly Parton: A MusiCares Tribute. This tribute featured many amazing artists that came together to honor Dolly.