Dolly Parton is not only one of the greatest living legends performing country music today, but she’s also one of America’s biggest exports. Dolly brings in millions of dollars in revenue a year on the back of her undying singles and massive world tours. But who is Dolly Parton?
Most people only know the wise-cracking blonde that shows up every couple of years on TV to sing “9 to 5,” or from the Dolly Parton Meme Challenge which started a social trend, but the Dolly Parton biography is full of heartbreak and a never-ending drive to succeed. Whether you’re one of Parton’s biggest fans, or you’re a newcomer to this country/pop crossover mega-star, these Dolly Parton facts will give you more to love.
After six decades in the music business, there’s almost no end to the Dolly Parton trivia, and the singer herself seems to relish dropping hints about her real life into every interview she gives. After you’ve spent any time reading about the singer, it’s obvious Parton knows where she fits into the modern cultural landscape as America’s campy country aunt, and she dishes out enough homespun and sassy wit to fill that role perfectly.
If you only know Parton’s singles, this is the perfect opportunity to learn about Dolly Parton family history, and dispel a few rumors that have plagued her since she first hit Nashville.
She Secretly Produced 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'
Dolly Parton co-created Sandollar Entertainment with Sandy Gallin in 1986, and the company produced every episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, including the 1992 original movie. Sandollar executive Gail Berman believed the concept had potential and proposed launching Buffy as a series even after the film tanked.
Parton herself is uncredited, but fans speculate that Buffy Summers's birthday, January 19, is a tribute to the country singer.
She's Covered In Secret Tattoos
There have long been rumors that Dolly Parton is covered in tattoos under her long-sleeved gowns. Well, that story is sort of true. It turns out that she does have tattoos (mostly dedicated to her husband), but they began as a way to hide unsightly scarring from various cosmetic surgeries:
I do have a few little tattoos, but they were mostly done to cover scars because I'm so fair…So it started with that.
She Lost A Dolly Parton Look-A-Like Contest
There have been persistent rumors about Dolly entering a look-a-like contest and losing, but to hear that it actually happened makes her even more endearing:
They had a bunch of Chers and Dollys that year, so I just over-exaggerated - made my beauty mark bigger, the eyes bigger, the hair bigger, everything. All these beautiful drag queens had worked for weeks and months getting their clothes. So I just got in the line and I just walked across, and they just thought I was some little short gay guy. I got the least applause.
She Donated $1 Million To Coronavirus Research
In April 2020, Dolly Parton donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University in Tennessee for coronavirus research. "I felt like this was the time for me to open my heart and my hand, and try to help,” she said in April on NBC's Today show.
In November 2020, when the pharmaceutical company Moderna announced promising results in its trial for a COVID-19 vaccine, news came to light that Parton's donation helped support development of the vaccine. The preliminary report for the vaccine published in The New England Journal of Medicine lists "the Dolly Parton COVID-19 Research Fund (Vanderbilt University Medical Center)" as a supporter of the study.