“I’ve always been a writer. My songs are the door to every dream I’ve ever had and every success I’ve ever achieved,” says Dolly Parton of her incredible career, which has spanned nearly five decades and is showing no signs of slowing down.
Dolly Parton’s remarkable life began very humbly. Born on a farm in Sevier County, TN, Dolly is the fourth of twelve children. By age 10, Dolly was performing on local television and radio shows in nearby Knoxville, TN. Dolly left for Nashville the day after high school graduation. On her first afternoon there she met a young man, Carl Dean, who would become her husband.
In 1967, Dolly’s career took off when country music superstar Porter Wagoner began featuring her on his popular syndicated television show, exposing Dolly to over 45 million people in more than 100 markets and attracting the attention of record executives at RCA. She was voted the Country Music Association Female Artist of the Year two years in a row, and in 1978, Dolly was named the CMA Entertainer of the Year. Dolly saw a cherished dream become a reality in 1986 with the opening of her own theme park called Dollywood, in Pigeon Forge, TN. In 1988, she began the Dollywood Foundation to inspire children in her home community to dream more, learn more, do more and care more. With the help of local sponsors, this program has expanded to over 800 communities in 41 states and will give away over 5 million books in 2007 alone.
In 1988, Dolly founded a group of dinner attractions called Dixie Stampede. In 2001, she built Dollywood’s Splash Country, which is Tennessee’s largest water park. Long respected for her instinctive business savvy, Dolly established Velvet Apple Music (BMI) early in her career and owns the copyrights and the publishing for her vast songwriting empire. She owns her own successful record label, Blue Eye Records.
Dolly Parton transitioned her flair for making hit music into producing hit movies and television shows when she established Sandollar Productions with former manager, Sandy Gallin. Achieving 25 RIAA certified gold, platinum, and multi-platinum awards, she has had 25 songs reach number one on the Billboard Country charts, a record for a female artist. She has 41 career top 10 country albums, a record for any artist, and she has 110 career charted singles over the past 40 years. All-inclusive sales of singles, albums, hit collections, paid digital downloads and compilation usage during her Hall of Fame career have reportedly topped a staggering 100 million records world-wide, making her the most honored and successful country performer of all time.
She has garnered 7 Grammy Awards, 10 Country Music Association Awards, 5 Academy of Country Music Awards, 3 American Music Awards and is one of the only five female artist to win the Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year Award. In 1999, Dolly Parton was inducted as a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. She has her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and became a member of the National Academy of Popular Music Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2001. Broadcast Music, Inc. honored Dolly with their Icon Award in 2003, and in 2004, the U.S. Library of Congress presented her with their Living Legend Award for her contribution to the cultural heritage of the United States. This was followed in 2005 with the National Medal of Arts, the highest honor given by the U.S. Government for excellence in the arts.
In December, 2006, Dolly was honored by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for her lifetime of contributions to the arts. In June 2007, Dolly was named the recipient of the prestigious Johnny mercer Award from the Songwriter’s Hall of fame in a prior year and whose body of work is of such high quality and impact that it upholds the gold standard set by the legendary Johnny Mercer.
Always dreaming and always looking forward, Dolly is busier than ever. Writing the music and lyrics for the Broadway musical version of “9-5”, working on various children’s projects, and writing and recording a new album, “I Believe in You”, released in 2017, are just a few of her many interests at the moment. The phenomenon of Dolly Parton continues to flourish, as she remains one of the world’s true superstars.