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People PEOPLE Dolly Parton

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Country:
United States
Language:
English
Publisher:
Meredith Corporation
Frequency:
Weekly
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54 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
dolly at 75!

ALL GIVING AND NO TAKING IN A CAREER ENCOMPASSING MUSIC, MOVIES, THEATER AND BOOKS, DOLLY PLAYS HERSELF—FROM THE HEART Underneath the sequins and the blonde wigs, there’s a 75-year-old show business veteran whom Dolly Parton is determined that none of us will ever see. The singer swears she wouldn’t dream of even going to the grocery store without wearing the glitzy trappings of a big-time star, for fear a fan might mistake her for an ordinary person. Pride and vanity? More like humility. Perched at the top of the entertainment world, Dolly still strives never to disappoint anybody—not her publicity-shy husband, Carl Dean, whom she has sheltered from the spotlight for more than half a century; nor the ticket holders at Dollywood, the theme park in Tennessee where she is often seen…

3 min.
back through the years

“I’M NOT OFFENDED BY ALL OF THE DUMB-BLONDE JOKES BECAUSE I KNOW I’M NOT DUMB … AND I ALSO KNOW THAT I’M NOT BLONDE”—DOLLY PARTON“YOU NEVER HEAR, ‘I WONDER IF THAT’S DOLLY PARTON,’ BECAUSE THERE’S NO DOUBT”—STEVE BUCKINGHAM, DOLLY’S RECORD PRODUCER“I’D NEVER EVEN SEEN A MOVIE MADE WHEN I WALKED INTO THATONE. IT’S EASY FOR ME TO MEMORIZE BECAUSE I WRITE. I KNEW THAT SCRIPT BACK AND FORTH IN TWO WEEKS”—DOLLY PARTON TO ANDY WARHOL, 1984…

10 min.
dolly speaks

Over a six-decade career that launched with her Grand Ole Opry debut at 13, Dolly Parton has written more than 3,000 songs, sold over 100 million records and scored 25 No. 1 country hits. And with a new book, Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics, which tells the personal stories behind her unforgettable songs, Parton isn’t slowing down now. “This is my gift, and I’m going to do the best I can with it,” she says of her talent as a singer and songwriter. During a break from recording her 2020 album A Holly Dolly Christmas, the iconic music star talked her about incredible success with People deputy West Coast editor Jason Sheeler. When you were young and writing songs about your life growing up poor in a family with…

6 min.
mountain memories

YEARS LATER ENTHRALLED AUDIENCES WOULD LISTEN as she sang vivid, richly evocative songs like “My Tennessee Mountain Home,” with its images of lasting pastoral beauty in a place where the air is always scented with honeysuckle and “life is as peaceful as a baby’s sigh.” But growing up in poverty in houses without electricity or running water and a battery-powered radio as the only means of entertainment, there was a lot of bitter hardship with the sweet. Parton was born Jan. 19, 1946, in a rickety one-room cabin on the banks of the Little Pigeon River in the Great Smoky Mountains. Her mother, 22-year-old Avie Owens Parton, who would give birth to 12 children by the age of 35, named her fourth Dolly. “I guess my mama knew I was…

6 min.
rising star

ON A SATURDAY MORNING IN 1964 Dolly Parton headed to Nashville with a beat-up bag stuffed with songs and guitar in hand, seeking country music stardom. Instead what she found on a hot summer day while washing her “ragged little clothes” at the local Wishy Washy laundromat was love. Tall and handsome, 21-year-old Carl Dean knew almost immediately that the girl he spied outside the laundromat was the one. “Our first date, he takes me right to his mom and daddy’s house and says, ‘Fix this girl a plate; this is the girl I’m gonna marry,’” Parton told People in 2003. While Parton and Dean courted to the strains of Otis Redding, the new singer in town and her uncle Bill peddled country and western tunes on Music Row, hoping for…

5 min.
baby, i’m burnin’

AS SHE CELEBRATED HER 30TH year in 1976, Dolly Parton was already a beloved Nashville star who sang like a country angel, wrote songs for the ages and had all of Music City wondering what the wunderkind would do next. The news broke the following year, when Parton released “Here You Come Again,” an irresistible pop confection written by future Rock & Roll Hall of Fame tunesmiths Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil that Parton had recorded in Los Angeles. The single shot to No. 1 on the country charts and No. 3 on Billboard’s Hot 100. The initial shock in the country music capital reverberated all the way to Parton’s hometown when it was revealed that she and Hollywood super-agent Sandy Gallin had engineered her crossover to mainstream stardom—first by…