KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — In celebration of Dolly Parton‘s 77th birthday, here are 77 facts about the East Tennessee icon.
1. Dolly is one of 12 siblings, all of whom were raised in a two-room house.
2. Dolly Parton’s childhood home still stands in Sevierville. A replica is available for visitors to walk through in Pigeon Forge.
3. An Eastern Sevier County history book says Dolly’s father paid the doctor who delivered her with either a bag of oatmeal or cornmeal.
4. She’s been nominated for over 100 awards for her music and acting, and she won 43 of those according to IMDb.
5. While she’s been nominated for ACM‘s Top Female Vocalist Award 13 times, she’s only won once, in 1981.
6. She’s released 79 albums and over 200 singles and EP’s. Sources say she’s credited with writing and arrangement on nearly 2,000 songs.
7. Dolly’s first single, “Puppy Love” was recorded in 1957 and released in 1959
8. Between 2015 and 2022, Dolly earned 47 Gold and Platinum certifications from around the globe.
9. Dolly wrote her first song at the age of 6 or 7 called “Little Tiny Tassle Top,” in 1953.
10. Parton once lost a Dolly Parton look-a-like contest.
11. Parton began performing as a regular singer on The Cas Walker Show in Knoxville in 1956.
12. When Parton was 13 years old, she performed at the Grand Old Opry for the first time, was introduced by Johnny Cash and got three encores.
13. In 2022, Parton gave $1 million to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville for pediatric infectious disease research.
14. Dolly’s middle name is Rebecca.
15. In 1967, Dolly released her first full-length album, Hello, I’m Dolly, with Monument Records.
16. Parton had a television show that debuted in 1976 called Dolly. The show had 26 episodes before it ended in 1977.
17. Parton’s first film was 9 to 5, released in 1980.
18. Parton is listed as the author of eight books on Amazon, including novels, inspirational books, and children’s books.
19. Dolly has a never-before-heard song locked away at Dollywood that will be released in 2045.
20. She broke four world records. Parton originally held the records for most decades on the US Hot Country Songs Chart for a female artist at 6 decades and most No. 1 hits on the chart by a female artist at 25 songs. She then broke both of those records, having 109 hits on the chart and staying on the chart for 7 decades.
21. Parton won a CMA Award in five different decades.
22. Dolly is on Tiktok.
23. Dolly released a baking collection with Duncan Hines in 2022. New additions were announced in January of 2023.
24. Dolly’s book with James Patterson, Run, Rose, Run, is being turned into a film by Sony Pictures along with Reese Witherspoon‘s production company, Hello Sunshine.
25. Parton starred in the 1982 film The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.
26. In a Vanity Fair interview, Dolly admitted to having pastel tattoos to cover scars.
27. Dolly creates the concepts of her looks and her creative team cranks out around 300 outfits a year, according to Steve Summers, Dolly’s creative director.
28. Summers, who has been working with her for over 30 years, told WATE that there is a warehouse that has every single garment Dolly has worn since 1964.
29. Parton has released at least 50 duets, including “I Will Always Love You” with Vince Gill, “Islands In The Stream” with Kenny Rogers, and “Here I Am” with Sia for the 2018 Netflix film Dumplin’.
30. Parton was first signed by Tree Publishing and Mercury Records in Nashville with her uncle, Bill Owens.
31. Parton has been married to her husband Carl Dean for over 55 years.
32. In 2020, Parton told People Magazine that she first met Dean, who was a Nashville businessman, when she was 18.
33. Parton also told People that one of their first dates was at McDonald’s.
34. Dolly has been offered the Presidential Medal of Freedom twice and turned it down. The first time she turned it down because of her husband’s illness and the second time because of the pandemic.
35. Parton’s theme park, Dollywood, opened on May 3, 1986.
36. In December 2022, a Southwest Virginia farm made a hay sculpture honoring Parton, called ‘Doll-Hay.’
37. Dolly is featured in two Funko Pops, which were announced in early 2023
38. Doggy Parton, Dolly’s line of pet items, launched in the Summer of 2022.
39. During an event where Parton promoted her novel, Run, Rose, Run, with James Patterson, fans were able to claim NFT’s of Parton.
40. Dolly starred in Taco Bell’s “Mexican Pizza: The Musical” on TikTok.
41. Despite her success, Parton isn’t a billionaire. Parton’s net worth was estimated at $350 million by Forbes in August 2021, and some recent estimates suggest her net worth may be around $650 million.
42. Dolly Parton is only two inches taller than Danny DeVito. Sources say Parton is five-feet tall while DeVito is four-feet 10 inches tall.
43. In 2022, Parton was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
44. Dolly Parton was a guest on “The Simpsons”, where she voiced herself.
45. In a children’s show, Dolly was the voice actress for a character named “Noleen,” IMDb says.
46. Parton is the godmother of two: Miley Cyrus and Billy the Kid, who is a French Bulldog.
47. Paton acted in approximately 135 movies, television shows, and music videos according to IMDb.
48. She has hundreds of wigs. Out.com asked Dolly how many she had at the Heartstrings premiere, and she responded that she wears one about every day, so she must have at least 365.
49. Parton’s Imagination Library, which has now gifted over 195 million books in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Republic of Ireland, launched in 1995.
50. Dolly doesn’t have any children of her own. According to Today, Parton told Oprah Winfrey that she believed God didn’t mean for her to have kids so that everybody’s kids could be hers.
51. Parton was awarded with the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy on August 3, 2022.
52. Parton is an early bird. In an interview with Today, she told them she wakes up by 3 a.m. for meditation and spiritual work before she takes care of business.
53. Parton told CMT she wrote “I Will Always Love You” about her mentor, Porter Wagoner, not a romantic interest.
54. On her birthday, she eats pie, not cake, Parton told a USA Today reporter.
55. In 1977, Dolly met Queen Elizabeth II in London.
56. After filming completed on Parton’s 2022 Christmas movie, some of the props and costumes used were donated to a Sevierville thrift store for charity.
57. Dolly’s first paid performance was at the Pines Theater in Sevierville when she was 10 years old. In May 2022, the company that owns the theater announced it was being remodeled to turn it into an entertainment venue, named The Pines.
58. Parton seems to be a fan of Lil Nas X. After Lil Nas X’s cover of “Jolene,” Parton said she was excited and that she loves him. In 2019, there was also a Twitter thread between the pair teasing the possibility of a remix of Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” with Parton.
59. Parton released a children’s album called “I Believe in You.”
60. Dolly found out about the Gatlinburg Wildfires in a phone call from Miley Cyrus.
61. Parton raised over $9 million in a telethon for her My People Fund, which gave $1,000 checks to families affected by the wildfires monthly for 6 months. The fund received enough donations that the final check fire victims were given was $5,000.
62. Parton was recognized by the FBI for helping Gatlinburg wildfire victims. The FBI gave the 2018 Directors Community Leadership Award to the Dollywood Foundation.
63. Dolly helped reduce dropout rates in Sevier County Schools from 30% to 6% in 1991. The Dollywood Foundation launched the Buddy Program in Sevier County Schools. Seventh and eighth-grade students were each promised $500 if they and a buddy graduated high school.
64. She once donated an autographed pair of heels to be auctioned for Soles4Souls.
65. Parton has been a member of the Grand Ole Opry for over 50 years.
66. Parton saved an actor’s life by pulling him out of the path of an oncoming vehicle on the set of ‘Christmas on the Square’.
67. Parton’s gold dress she wore in 1988 for an episode of “Dolly,” filmed at the Grand Ole Opry, is on display at the Opry.
68. The University of Tennessee offered a history course on Dolly Parton’s life.
69. Parton was voted “least likely to succeed” in high school, according to a 2017 tweet she made.
70. She is the first and only female recipient, as of 2022, of the “Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award.”
71. Parton is featured on a Kesha album. In the 2017 album, Rainbow, the pair sang a duet of Parton’s “Old Flames (Can’t Hold a Candle to You).
72. Parton was named the 2022 Friend of Education by the National Education Association.
73. In addition to Dollywood’s employees, Dolly has had a major economic impact on East Tennessee. According to a study at the University of Tennessee, Dollywood has an annual direct and indirect economic impact of over $1.8 billion and created over 23,000 jobs in the region.
74. In 2019, Parton was part of the first all-female host line-up for the CMA Awards.
75. At 10 years old, Parton was interested in show business. A former audio technician shared that when she wasn’t performing, she was watching everything happening behind the scenes.
76. Dolly was named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in 2021.
77. In 2023, Parton was honored with the Christine King Farris Legacy of Service in Education Award at the King Center’s 2023 Beloved Community Awards.