Born January 19, 1946, Dolly Rebecca Parton is an American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, actress, author, businesswoman, and philanthropist and is best known for her work in country music. She has composed over 3,000 songs, with some her most famous recordings being “I Will Always Love You”, “Jolene”, “Coat of Many Colours” and “9 to 5”. A testament to her talent, Parton has received 9 Grammy awards, 2 Academy Award nominations, 10 Country Music Association Awards, 7 Academy of Country Music Awards and 3 American Music Awards. She has also received a total of 47 Grammy nominations over the course of her career.
The fourth of twelve children, Dolly Parton grew up in rural Tennessee and described her family as being “dirt poor”. Parton’s father paid the doctor who helped deliver her with a bag of cornmeal. She was brought up in the Church of God and music played an important role in her early life. Her earliest public performances were in the church at age 6. By 10 she was appearing on television and radio and at age 13 recorded her first single “Puppy Love”. That year, she would later meet Johnny Cash, who encouraged her to follow her own instincts regarding her career.
In 1986 the Dollywood Foundation was created as a literacy program and initiative. The foundation mails one book per month to each enrolled chid from the time of their birth until they enter kindergarten. Over 1600 local communities provide the Imagination Library to around 850,000 children each month across the U.S., Canada, the UK and Australia. The Dollywood Foundation has been noted for bringing jobs and tax revenues to a previously depressed region. In February 2018, she donated her 100 millionth free book to the Library of Congress in Washington DC.
Dolly Parton’s other philanthropic endeavours include raising money on behalf of the American Red Cross and HIV/AIDS-related charities. In December 2006, she pledged $500,000 toward a proposed hospital and cancer center to be constructed in Sevierville in the name of Dr. Robert F. Thomas, the physician who delivered her.
Favourite song: “Jolene”
Favourite quote: “I’m not going to limit myself just because people won’t accept the fact that I can do something else”