Why Dolly Parton Always Wears Long Sleeves
On 16th January 2017
She is one of country music's most celebrated singers and songwriters, a huge box office draw with her movies, and the owner of one of America's premiere theme parks. Dolly Parton is loved, lauded, and larger than life. But even her most devoted admirers might not know all there is to this Backwoods Barbie.
#1 The Wigs
Dolly never leaves home without one of her wigs on, and she owns over 500 of them. She first began wearing them when her hair would not cooperate with the styles she wanted, which was big and poofy. It was the 1960's in country music and everyone had big hair. She fell in love with the look and has changed the styles from time to time but not many people have seen her without a wing on her head in almost six decades.
#2 Dolly's Husband
She has been married to the same man, yes, the same man, Carl Dean, a one-time construction worker from Nashville, since 1966. They renewed their vows in 2016, after fifty years of marriage. The couple is rarely seen in public together and Dolly says he is a recluse, though in recent years he has come out of his shell a little bit.
#3 A Sheep's Been Named After Her
The world's first cloned animal, a sheep, was named after Dolly. In 1995, scientists successfully managed to clone the first adult mammal. Dr. Ian Wilmut revealed that the cloned sheep was named in her honor. "Dolly is derived from a mammary gland cell and we couldn't think of a more impressive pair of glands than Dolly Parton's," Dr. Wilmut said, according to the BBC.
#4 She Has Her Own Theme Park
She hates amusement parks and rides in general, but that didn't stop Dolly from purchasing the shutdown theme park, Silver Dollar City, in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee over 20 years ago. She turned the old western theme park near her hometown into one of the country's biggest and most adventurous parks with multiple shows and attractions, and of course, named it after herself. The park is a huge tourist destination and the entire area has given thousands of jobs to local residents.
#5 The Porter Wagoner Show
Dolly's real break in show business was when she was hired to replace the regular female singer on The Porter Wagoner Show. Withing months she was given a spotlight to perform her own solos and she began recording albums of her own and as Wagoner's duet partner, racking up hit after hit. When she quit the show in 1973 to pursue her own career, she wrote one of the biggest selling songs ever, "I Will Always Love You" for Porter.
#6 Tattooed Skin
Because she never wears short skirts or short sleeved blouses, rumors have circulated that Dolly is covered in tattoos. One report says that while under the knife for a surgery, it was witnessed that he has her body marked in various sizes of beautifully colored butterflies. However, she has stated that she covers up body scars with tattoos, suggesting that they’re more for her husband, Carl.
#7 She Lost A Dolly Look-Alike Contest
Yes, it's true. Dolly has had so much plastic surgery that she no longer resembles the Dolly we once knew. In fact, she entered a drag show on Santa Monica Boulevard amongst a group of men, that was a Dolly Parton look-alike contest, and didn't even place in the top five! She “over-exaggerated” her look and walked on stage, but she didn’t win.
#8 She Recreated Her Childhood Home
Dolly and her 11 siblings were raised in a small house in the mountains of Tennessee that lacked electricity and indoor plumbing. When Parton bought the place after fame, she hired her brother Bobby to restore it to the way it looked when they were kids but added electricity and plumbing. He later built a second version after she opened her theme park, and the little house is on display for fans to walk through to see how the Parton's were raised.
#9 A Poor Family
Dolly is the fourth of 12 children born to Robert and Avie Lee Parton of Sevierville, Tennessee. In fact, Dolly’s family was so poor that grain was all her father had to give the doctor who delivered her instead of payment.
#10 Her Family Is Very Talented
Parton’s brother, Randy, and her sister Cassie, along with their nieces, star in the regular Dollywood show My People. Sisters Stella Parton, Freida Parton, and Rachel Dennison have also had singing careers, though none of them have become as big as Dolly. Rachel starred in the failed sitcom based on the movie "9 to 5" because of her resemblance to older sister Dolly. Dolly Parton’s pretty close to her 11 siblings! Growing up, the kids would often have to share rooms and even bath together to save on water.
#11 She Was Bullied In School
She's been very open about her childhood and even the bullying she took from other children. In fact, she wrote a song that later became a TV movie, "Coat Of Many Colors," about how other kids made fun of her. Stating that it wasn’t an easy time for her, according to the singer, Parton’s schoolmates became jealous after she sang on local TV and locked her in a coat closet. She had one friend, Judy Ogle, who stood by her and is her constant companion and assistant to this very day.
There really was a Jolene who tried to split Dolly and Carl up. But she didn't know who she was dealing with. The story inspired Dolly to write the popular and haunting song, "Jolene" about the redheaded banker who had a “terrible crush” on her husband. According to Parton, her husband loved visiting the bank because of all the attention he received and it became a running joke between the couple. The song is remembered as one of her finest pieces of writing.
#13 Her Biggest Dream Was To Be Famous
By the age of 10, Dolly was performing on local television and radio shows in nearby Knoxville, Tennessee. She revealed that she always wanted to be a star because it seemed “natural” to her. Dolly left for music city Nashville immediately after graduation, and it all worked out!
#14 Performing On Stage Since She Was Six
Dolly Parton was writing her own songs from a young age, but she also performed from a young age as well. Her earliest performances were at the age of six at local churches and she was met with great applause. Soon after performing in churches, Dolly began to play a homemade guitar. Then, when she was eight, her uncle gave her her first real guitar.
#15 She's Obsessed With Barbie
Dolly claims she is fully aware of her not-so-classy style, but she doesn’t care as her fans adore it. Dolly has actually stated that Barbie was her biggest influence while growing up and she maintains that Barbie will maintain her inspiration until she dies, which could explain why she lost a drastic amount of weight in the late 70's and had ribs removed. She told Oprah that she was inspired to look like a 'Backwoods Barbie', which she later used as the title to one of her albums.
#16 She Has Won Many Awards
With a successful music career comes a plethora of awards. So far, Parton has garnered seven Grammy Awards, 10 Country Music Association Awards, five Academy of Country Music Awards, three American Music Awards and is one of only five female artists to win the Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year Award! Along with that, a CMA Lifetime Achievement Award, and induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
#17 Dolly The Actress
As well as being a music star, Dolly is also an actress and has appeared in several successful films such as 9 To 5, The Beverley Hillbillies, The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas, and Steel Magnolias. Aside from that, her production company, Sandollar, owned with friend Sandy Gallin, produces countless films and television series including Buffy The Vampire Slayers, Clueless, Toy Story and Alien: Resurrection, among countless others.
#18 She Wrote And Produce A Broadway Musical
Though she only acted and sang the title song for her breakout film, "9 to 5", Dolly wrote the music and lyrics for the Broadway musical '9 to 5: The Musical', which is based on the 1980 movie of the same name. The show opened to rave reviews in 2009 but the musical didn’t last long on Broadway, running for only several months. However, the production did score Parton a Tony Award nomination for best original score. And the show begins touring the country in 2017.
#19 She Doesn't Consider Herself A Singer
For some reason, Dolly Parton doesn’t consider singing as her main career. Whenever she’s asked to describe her career, Parton states that she’s a songwriter. What’s even more amazing, however, is that, since the age of seven, Parton has written over 5,000 songs!
#20 The Corn Song
The first song Dolly ever wrote was called The Corn Song. It was about her corn cob doll. She was so young that she actually couldn’t write it down herself, so her mother had to do it for her. She had never owned one but played with her friend Judy's doll every day. Though very poor, her family managed to buy her her very own corn cob doll on Christmas, and she still owns it.
#21 One Affairs After Another
During her marriage, Dolly Parton had countless affairs which were all leaked and she claims “men are her weakness”. She neither confirms nor denies any of these leaked rumors, but she has even been linked to gal pal Judy Ogle in a lesbian relationship. There are rumors out there ’til this day that claim Dolly, Sylvester Stallone and her close friend Ogle enjoyed a steamy night together while she was filming Rhinestone with Stallone.
#22 She Regrets Not Having Children
Dolly believes that choosing to not have kids may actually be the biggest regret of her life. “I was starting my menopause and feeling guilty about my success. Maybe I was thinking that I’d been selfish not to have had children.” However, there have been rumors since the 1970s that she was unable to become pregnant due to problems with her ovaries, but in any case, she loves children and wishes to leave her fortune to children's organizations and her nieces and nephews.
#23 Busty Beauty
Dolly Parton in large part is known for her massive set of breasts which made her a mainstay in the entertainment industry. She actually has tried to use makeup and costumes to hide herself and go out in public, but people have always recognized her right away for her large breasts. Dolly’s breasts register in at a whopping 40DD and are estimated at around $300,000 each! She actually had a breast reduction in the 1980s because of health problems, but her male fans were not very happy about it.
#24 She Runs Her Own Record Label
Long respected for her business moves, Dolly established Velvet Apple Music (BMI) early in her career and owns the copyrights and the publishing for her vast songwriting empire. She also owns her very own successful record label, Dolly Records, which she purchased when she took her RCA contract to do a 'side thing' of her own. Within 2 years she had bought the rights to the label for herself and has been producing music ever since.
#25 She Loves Butterflies
One of her best songs ever from her early solo breakout is "Love Is Like A Butterfly" in 1974, and she is known for her love of the winged creatures. Aside from the aforementioned tattoos on her body of colorful butterflies, the winged one is also a symbol for her and she even has Dollywood decked out with several butterfly inspired rides and attractions.
#26 She's Open About Her Plastic Surgery
It’s no secret that Dolly’s had some work done, but she’s pretty open about it. She’s stated that if she ever sees something “saggin’, baggin’ or draggin'”, then she gets it nipped, tucked, or sucked. She even had four ribs removed in the 1980s to make her waist appear smaller.
#27 Dolly's Playboy Cover
At her height in the late 1970s, Dolly appeared on the cover of Playboy magazine. However, don't go searching the archives hoping to get a glimpse of those breasts. Instead of stripping down, Dolly decided to wear a bunny costume for the magazine’s cover in 1978. And the story was a piece about her music and entering into the movies, with a few more bunny pics.
#28 Her Very Own Statue
Dolly's hometown of Sevierville, TN, honored Dolly with a bronze statue. The statue features Dolly sitting atop a boulder, holding her guitar, and is located in the front of the County Courthouse. Sevierville is small but just a stones throw away from Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, two famous resort areas. But the statue of Dolly has brought tourist to the small town and it is the most popular spot on Sevierville’s walking tour.
#29 She Turned Down Elvis Presley
In the '70s, Parton got word that Elvis Presley wanted to record a cover of her song, "I Will Always Love You," but his request came with a catch. The song had already been published and a huge hit for Dolly, but Elvis wanted writing credits and half the royalties. Dolly sand 'NO!' She said she cried all night after refusing to let him take her song, but 20 years later, Whitney Houston recorded it for the movie The Bodyguard and it was the biggest-selling record ever. Not only that, the song has been number one in four different decades. Three times by Parton and once by Houston.
#30 Dolly Received Death Threats From The KKK
In 2004, Dollywood became one of many amusement parks in the United States that opened their gates to what would later become known as "Gay Days," which was started at Disney World. This was a time when LBGT people and their families were allowed to get reduced admission to the parks and celebrated with any hassles. The KKK didn’t seem to like this as they threatened the country singer. She said that the threats didn’t scare her because she’s “in business” and businesses are there to include as many people as possible.
#31 The LGBT Community
Dolly Parton is a pretty well-known supporter of gay marriage and when asked about the issue, she famously said: “Sure, why can’t they get married? They should suffer like the rest of us do!” She said gay men want to look like her and gay women want to sleep with her. She's proud of her fans, not matter who they are and says that "it's not very Christian-like to hate anybody based on who or what they believe."
#32 The Imagination Library
In 1995, Dolly, ever the passionate reader, founded Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library with the goal of encouraging literacy in her home state of Tennessee. Over the years, the program has spread nationwide in the US, as well as to Canada, the UK, and even Australia! She gives children a free book every month to read, and they can then pass it on to other children. In 2012 the US Postal Service was ordered to pay the foundation $1.5 million as they were caught not delivering the books but instead tossing them in the trash. When Dolly found this out, she faught the government and won!
#33 She Is Miley Cyrus's Godmother
Dolly has never had children and she’s stated that god didn’t allow her to have children, “so everybody’s children could be mine”. Luckily for Parton, she is a godmother, and to none other than Miley Cyrus! Talk about a musical family. She met and aided Miley's father, Billy Ray Cyrus right after his big hit song came out, Achy Breaky Heart, and fell in love with the singer, They later sang together on her hit single, Romeo.