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Stories We Learned About Dolly Parton That Made Us Say, 'Really??'

December 2, 2020 6k votes 847 voters 39.3k views12 items

List RulesVote up the most incredible facts from the documentary ‘Dolly Parton: Here I Am.’

Dolly Parton is a treasure unlike any other - it's nearly impossible to find anyone who dislikes her. The 2020 Netflix documentary Dolly Parton: Here I Am, directed by Francis Whatley, focuses on the famed singer as a feminist, businesswoman, philanthropist, prolific and skilled songwriter, and genuinely good human being. It features interviews with Parton along with Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Kylie Monigue, Mac Davis, Porter Wagoner, session musicians, and others who have worked with her over the years.

Some of the Dolly Parton facts in the documentary might come as a surprise to you because the film explores who she is beyond the stereotypes.

  • 1

    Parton Met Her Husband At A Laundromat The Day She Moved To Nashville

    According to Parton, she had no plans on getting married when she moved to Nashville in 1964, but fate had other ideas. On her very first day in Nashville after she moved to the city to pursue her career, she met her future husband.

    Parton, 18, was outside the Wishy Washy Washateria laundromat when Carl Dean drove by in his pickup truck, and it was love at first sight. According to Dean, his very first thought upon seeing her was, "I'm gonna marry that girl."

    Parton and Dean are still married after more than 50 years.

  • 2

    Elvis Presley Wanted To Record 'I Will Always Love You,' But Parton Wouldn't Sign Over The Rights

    How many people can say they've turned down the King of Rock 'n' Roll? Parton released the song "I Will Always Love You" in 1974, and Elvis Presley fell in love with it. He wanted to record a version of his own, but his manager insisted on taking half of the publishing rights, which Parton wouldn't agree to, even though turning him down "broke [her] heart," she says in the documentary. 

    Session musician Lloyd Green says in the film that holding on to the song's rights "was one of the great career decisions Dolly Parton made in her life... She said no, and that demonstrated her astuteness as a businesswoman. That was a great chess move."

  • 3

    Parton Had Some Strong Comebacks In A 1977 Barbara Walters Interview

    The documentary includes footage from an interview Parton did in 1977 with Barbara Walters. Although Parton is sweet and charming, she also comes across as smart, proud, and capable of more than one strong comeback.

    Walters (after asking if Parton is willing to share her measurements, which the singer isn't) tells her, "You don't have to look like this. You're very beautiful. You don't have to wear the blond wig. You don't have to wear the extreme clothes, right?"

    Parton responds: "No, this is definitely a choice. I don't like to be like everybody else... I would never stoop so low as to be fashionable; that's the easiest thing in the world to do... Once [people] got past the shock of the ridiculous way I looked... they would see there was a part of me to be appreciated. Show business is a money-making joke, and I just always like telling jokes."

    Walters isn't done, coming back with, "But do you ever feel that you're a joke? That people make fun of you?"

    Parton isn't done either: "Oh, I know they make fun of me, but actually, all these years, the people have thought the joke was on me, but it's actually been on the public. I know exactly what I'm doing, and I can change it at any time."

    The full interview is available here.

  • 4

    Parton Wrote More Than 100 Verses For '9 to 5,' And Her Fingernails Are Credited On The Record 

    Photo: 9 to 5 / 20th Century Fox

    The movie 9 to 5 was Parton's debut as an actor in 1980. She starred alongside Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda as a trio of women in the workplace with a sexist boss (Dabney Coleman); Parton plays his assistant. 

    Parton agreed to star in the film if she could write the movie's theme song. Parton says in the documentary that during production, she entertained her co-stars by writing and sharing verses for the theme song, also titled "9 to 5." In the end, Parton wrote over 100 verses for the song, which was a hit along with the movie. 

    She used her acrylic nails to keep the beat when writing the song, a sound that made it to the recording. The record credits even say, "Nails by Dolly Parton."