Dolly Parton is among the most successful women in country music, a seven-time Grammy winner with 26 No. 1 songs on the country chart, a sometime actress and the co-owner of her own theme park, Dollywood. The buxom, platinum-haired singer is an acclaimed songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1984.
One of 12 children born to a poor family, Parton began writing her own songs at 4, performing on the radio soon after and recording at age 13. She moved to Nashville after high school.
After her single “Dumb Blonde” reached No. 24 on the country music chart in 1967, she was invited onto the cast of TV's “The Porter Wagoner Show,” and remained his frequent duet partner for years after.
It wasn't until her cover of the Jimmie Rodgers standard “Mule Skinner Blues” (a.k.a. “Blue Yodel #8”) in 1970 that she fully connected with country fans. A string of hits followed: “Joshua,” “Coat of Many Colors” and “Jolene.” She left Wagoner in 1976 for a solo career, marking the occasion with one of her most famous songs, “I Will Always Love You,” a No. 1 country hit. The song enjoyed a long life on the charts: Parton re-recorded it for the 1982 film “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” marking the first time a single artist took the same song twice to the top of the country charts. It became a multi-platinum hit single after Whitney Houston recorded it for the 1992 film “The Bodyguard.
For one season beginning in 1976, she hosted “Dolly!,” a syndicated TV variety show, where she performed for the first time as a trio with Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris. She began to stretch into crossover country-pop, and in 1977 her Grammy-winning “Here You Come Again” was her first million-selling album, and its title song hit No. 3 on the pop chart.
In 1980, she began acting, joining Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin as office workers in the hit comedy “9 to 5” and impressing Fonda by having the entire script memorized before shooting. Parton's title song from the movie was one of her biggest hits, topping the pop, country and adult-contemporary charts, while earning an Academy Award nomination for best original song.
By the end of the decade, Parton returned to her roots with the album “Trio” with Ronstadt and Harris (followed by “Trio II” in 1999). In 1994, she recorded “Honky Tonk Angels” with Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette. She explored her musical roots even deeper with a series of bluegrass albums, including 2002's “Halos & Horns,” featuring an acoustic reading of Led Zeppelin's “Stairway to Heaven.”
She was nominated for another Oscar for best original song for “Travelin' Thru,' ” written for 2005's “Transamerica.” In 2006 and 2007, she had a recurring role in “Hannah Montana” as the title character's Aunt Dolly. In 2008, she appeared as a guest on “American Idol.”
In 1986, she opened Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., a Parton-style theme park with rides and musical entertainment.
|1980||Best Original Song||"9 to 5" from 9 to 5||Nomination|
|2005||Best Original Song||"Travelin' Thru" from Transamerica||Nomination|