Love Dolly Parton? Who doesn’t! The bubbly blonde has charmed her way into the hearts of generations – whether that’s through her iconic tunes, her witty quips or her enduring style. But there are still some details about the country goddess and her epic career that even her most avid fans may not know. So, take a look at these fascinating photos and facts – with many proving that underneath the rhinestone jumpsuits, Dolly truly has a heart of gold.
40. Her iconic look began with some strange experimentation
As she grew up poor in Tennessee, the young Dolly couldn’t afford to buy branded make-up. But that didn’t stop her from trying to look her best. Instead, she embarked on some creative improvisation. Lip stain? Well, that could be made out of berries. Dolly also produced a smokey eyeliner look with charred matches and even scented herself with honeysuckle instead of perfume. Talk about ingenuity!
39. She has a surprising link to Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Dolly is definitely a woman of many talents, but her time in TV is perhaps the most surprising achievement of them all. Did you know that the country icon was involved in the making of Buffy The Vampire Slayer? Yep, really! Although she remained uncredited throughout the show’s run, Dolly helped bring the hit horror TV series to screen through her firm Sandollar Productions.
38. She purchased her old family home and made some surprising changes
After shooting to success, Dolly eventually earned enough money to purchase her childhood home. And not only that, but she also spent millions of dollars making the property look exactly the way it had when she was young – outdoor toilet included.
37. Childhood bullying led to a lifelong phobia
As a child, Dolly was locked in a school cupboard by children who envied her for her appearance on local TV. As a result, she has always been scared of the dark. And she still goes to bed with a night light shining. Yes, even the Queen of Country has foibles…
36. She and her husband kept a big secret
Dolly actually met her husband Carl in the early stages of her career, but that presented her with a big problem. Basically, she needed to hang on to her single girl image for as long as possible, and having a man in tow didn’t exactly help. But the loved-up couple didn’t want to wait to tie the knot, and so they opted for clandestine nuptials when they wed on May 30, 1966, in Ringgold, Georgia. And, incredibly, the pair managed to keep their marriage hidden for a full 12 months.
35. She made family history before she even arrived in Nashville
Intriguingly, Dolly was the very first one of her relatives to earn her high school diploma – all the way back in 1964, in case you were wondering. But those smarts didn’t lead her on to further study right away. Instead, she left her hometown of Sevierville just a day after turning the tassel. Dolly wanted to kick-start her career in the music industry, you see.
34. Her first professional gig was an unusual one
Dolly’s uncle Billy nurtured his niece’s musical talent from a young age. And as it happens, it was that support that led the aspiring star to an early career break. Billy fatefully introduced her to a local man who liked to publicize his businesses on a Tennessee radio show. Thanks to this canny bit of networking, said show would then host Dolly’s first performance in front of a live audience – while she was all of just ten years old.
33. “I Will Always Love You” is an ode to another country star
“I Will Always Love You” remains one of Dolly’s most successful songs – not least because of Whitney Houston’s chart-topping cover of the track. What many fans probably don’t know, however, is that the lyrics were actually written for Porter Wagoner after he and Dolly ended their long-time musical partnership. That’s quite the tribute.
32. Dolly’s locks were in high demand during the ’90s
During the ’90s Revlon met popular demand by producing a range of wigs modeled on Dolly’s locks. Yes, really! And to this day the hairpieces are still sold online. Fancy your own set of blonde beehive curls? Then just try a little digging on eBay…
31. She has a very special connection to the Girl Scouts
Was Dolly a Girl Scout? Not quite. The link comes from the fact that members can earn a patch called “Coat of Many Colors” – named after Dolly’s famous 1971 single, of course. The honor is given for thinking about those who are less fortunate and organizing ways to help the poor, and it was created by the Girl Scouts of the Southern Appalachians in collaboration with the country star herself.
30. She’s got a degree
In 2009 Dolly was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Texas in Knoxville. The reason? Well, it was for her services to charity and entertainment, natch! And when the star stepped up to the stage, she became only the second person ever to receive such a distinction from the college.
29. Two of her biggest songs took no time to write
It took Dolly just one night in 1973 to pen songs “Jolene” and “I Will Always Love You.” That feat is all the more incredible given that “Jolene” remains one of the most successful and beloved hits for the star as a solo artist. And “I Will Always Love You” is arguably even more iconic, thanks to Whitney Houston’s cover.
28. There’s one part of being a beauty icon that Dolly simply won’t tolerate
Dolly has been very open about her relationship with dieting: basically, after years of following all the regimes, she’s not a fan. “I tried every diet in the book,” she once said. “I tried eating the book, [and] it tasted better than most of the diets.” Perhaps that’s because food is – alongside men – her greatest vice.
27. She was named Tennessean of the Year in 2006 – but not for her music
The star’s child literacy charity, Dolly’s Imagination Library, deservedly earned her the accolade of “Tennessean of the Year” back in 2006. She had originally launched the charity back in 1995 to raise literacy rates among preschoolers in her home county in East Tennessee.
26. Even scientists have honored her
The world’s first cloned mammal was a sheep named Dolly, after the country icon herself. And that tribute was a bit of a brazen one from the scientists involved in the animal’s creation. How? Well, the sheep was cloned from a mammary gland cell – and it didn’t escape them that Dolly herself has a substantial bust.
25. Her charity work extends far beyond her literacy program
In December 2016 Dolly created the “My People Fund” for residents of the Great Smokey Mountain area. That year, the community had been devastated by wildfires that had forced 2,000 people to flee their homes. And this act of kindheartedness came on the back of yet another good deed. In November 2016 Dolly awarded a $30,000 college scholarship to a two-year-old who had recently signed up for her literacy program. How can you not love that?
24. An unusual toy inspired her very first song
Dolly was so small when she first started writing lyrics that she had to have her mom transcribe the words for her. And, charmingly, the first ever tune she composed was about her doll, which had been created from a corn cob. Aww!
23. She is the biggest employer in her hometown
Ever since she moved away at 18, Dolly has been determined to help people living in the community she grew up in. And it’s safe to say she’s done that. You see, through her theme park, Dollywood, she employs more people in Sevier County than any other business.
22. She’s been targeted by extremists
In the mid-’00s, several theme parks participated in “Gay Days” that gave members of the LGBT community and their loved ones safe spaces in which to enjoy all the attractions. And while Dollywood was one of the parks involved in the scheme, not everyone approved. In particular, Dolly received threats to her person from the Ku Klux Klan for her gesture. Naturally, though, she didn’t let the group deter her.
21. Her husband allowed the cameras into their lives – on one condition…
Dolly and her husband celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in 2016. That’s right: 50 years of marriage! And the couple marked the special occasion with a private ceremony to renew their vows in Nashville, Tennessee. That’s heartwarming enough by itself, but Carl and Dolly upped the ante even further by selling the photographs of the event at a special charity auction. The money they brought in ultimately went to Dolly’s Imagination Library.
20. Her birth was paid for in an unusual way
It’s no secret that Dolly was born into extreme poverty. Back in the day, her family lived in a tiny cabin in Tennessee – one without either running water or proper power. And when Dolly came into the world, her father, Robert, was only able to compensate the doctor attending the birth with a bag of oatmeal. From such humble beginnings are legends born.
19. She wakes up at 3:00 a.m.
Dolly is a busy woman and has to pack a lot into her day. So, she wakes up in the wee small hours of the morning – 3:00 a.m. in fact – in order to get everything done. Wow! In 2018 Dolly cheerfully told Today, “I go to bed early, but I’m just an early bird. I get more work done between 3:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. than most people all day, because it’s quiet and the energy’s all low-key – except mine.”
18. She once lost a Dolly Parton lookalike contest
It sounds like an urban legend, but it’s true. Dolly once entered a lookalike contest… And lost. In 2009 she revealed all to Robin Roberts, saying, “At a Halloween contest years ago on Santa Monica Boulevard where all the guys were dressed up like me… I just overexaggerated my look and went in and just walked up on stage… I didn’t win. I didn’t even come in close, I don’t think.”
17. She doesn’t regret not having children
Dolly and Carl may never have had any kids, but the star claims to have no regrets about it. In 2014 she told Billboard that she was very close to her nieces and nephews instead. Dolly also explained, “God didn’t mean for me to have kids so everybody’s kids could be mine.” Adorable.
16. You won’t see her riding anything at her theme park
Dolly may have her own theme park, but she’s not about to actually try out the rollercoasters herself. She told The New York Times in 2019, “I don’t ride the rides. I never have. I have a tendency to get motion sickness. Also, I’m a little bit chicken. With all my hair I got so much to lose, like my wig or my shoes. I don’t like to get messed up.” Makes sense!
15. She turned down Elvis
Dolly once got a chance to work with Elvis himself… But she put her principles ahead of all else. You see, the King wanted to create his own version of “I Will Always Love You.” Sounds reasonable, so what was the catch? Well, when Elvis’ famously ruthless manager Colonel Tom Parker called Dolly about the deal, he told her that she would get only half the publishing rights to the cover. Naturally, the savvy businesswoman refused those terms.
14. She’s in the Guinness World Records book
Dolly has practically every other award under the sun, so why not a couple of world records as well? Yep, she has two. She can boast of having the “Most Hits on U.S. Hot Country Songs Chart by a Female Artist” and “Most Decades with a Top 20 Hit on the U.S. Hot Country Songs Chart.” Her trophy cabinet must be absolutely heaving.
13. She was once rescued by the family cow
When Dolly was very young, she found herself entranced by a monarch butterfly. The only problem? She followed the colorful insect so far away from her home that she ultimately got lost. Luckily, a cow named Bessie came to the rescue – well, sort of. Basically, Dolly just held onto the animal’s collar and got quite literally dragged back to her family. And despite it all, she still loves butterflies.
12. She’s Miley Cyrus’ godmother
Yes, Miley Cyrus learned from the best in the business! Dolly is her unofficial godmother and has been there for her since day one. In 2019 the country icon told Robin Roberts, “[Miley’s] father’s a friend of mine, and when she was born, he said, ‘You just have to be her godmother.’ And I said, ‘I accept.’ We never did do a big ceremony, but I’m so proud of her, love her, and she’s just like one of my own.”
11. She’s a songwriter above all else
Dolly may have many strings to her bow, but there’s one she prefers above all else. In her 2020 book Songteller, she declared, “My name is Dolly Parton, and I am a songwriter… If I had to choose just one thing to be, I would choose to be a songwriter.” She added that if given the choice she could “happily just sit in [her] house forever, enjoy life and write songs.”
10. She once made Stephen Colbert cry
Lots of people have been deeply touched by Dolly’s singing, and that includes Stephen Colbert. Yes, when the star appeared on Colbert’s show in October 2020, she sang a version of “Bury Me Beneath the Willow” that reduced the usually acerbic late-night host to tears. Dolly was unflappable, though, and merely quipped, “I better hush before you cry yourself to death and you can’t finish the show!”
9. She sleeps with her makeup on
You probably haven’t seen Dolly without makeup, and for good reason: she keeps a full face on even when she sleeps. In 2019 she told The New York Times, “You never know if you’re going to wreck the [tour] bus, you never know if you’re going to be somewhere in a hotel and there’s going to be a fire. So I leave my makeup on at night and clean my face in the morning.”
8. She believes she got her business talents from her father
Dolly has a great respect for the man who raised her. In 2017 she told Maverick magazine, “Daddy was not educated at all, but daddy had horse sense. That’s what we call it in the country, they call it street smart in the cities. That innate knowledge of what to do, what not to do, how to bargain, how to barter… My daddy was great at that. So, I got my business sense from my dad.”
7. “Jolene” is loosely based on a true story
Everyone knows the story of Dolly’s smash hit “Jolene.” But the singer/songwriter actually based the tale on something that really happened to her – well, pretty much. In 2008 she told the radio show All Things Considered that once a redheaded bank teller had “this terrible crush on [her] husband.” And although the woman didn’t actually come between Dolly and Carl, that threat of having a man seduced away was the inspiration behind the song.
6. She’s not overly bothered by comments about her breasts
During a 1980 interview with Roger Ebert, Dolly chatted about her most famous assets. And when asked, “Do you get bothered by constant references to your bust size?” she coolly answered, “It don’t bother me so much unless people dwell on it… If someone gets really carried away, well, I sort of pity him. Cause it’s his problem, not mine. Other than that, I’m a good sport. I know some of the best Dolly Parton jokes. I made ’em up myself.”
5. Her first crush was Johnny Cash
Growing up, Dolly had a crush on another music legend: Johnny Cash. In 2012 she explained to Nightline that when she first saw her fellow country star, it was “when [she] first knew about sex appeal – someone striking and made me feel something inside.” Dolly continued, “[Johnny] had this tic when he moved his shoulder… And it was still sexy. It still got to me.”
4. She wears high heels almost all the time
Dolly loves standing a little taller – which makes sense, as she only comes in at a petite 5 feet! And during a 2020 chat with RuPaul for Marie Claire, she revealed how she adds those extra few inches. Dolly explained, “I actually do wear high heels most of the time. They’re not always as high as the ones I wear for show… I have to wear heels in order to reach my cabinets.” But she doesn’t just do it out of necessity. “I always enjoy wearing the shoes too, and I just feel more like me,” the star added.
3. She has tattoos to cover up scars
You probably won’t have seen them, but Dolly has several tattoos on her body. Yes, we’re shocked too! In 2017 she told Vanity Fair that she had used the designs to cover up keloid scar tissue, although she didn’t like to “make a big to-do” of it. What else do we know? Well, apparently, all of her pieces of body art are in pastel colors.
2. Her father couldn’t read
Dolly’s father never got a proper education – which meant in turn that he couldn’t read. And in a 2020 interview with The Irish Times newspaper, the musical icon remembered how her dad had been embarrassed by this fact, although she’d had some words of sage advice in return. Dolly claimed that she had explained to her father, “Daddy, there’s a lot of people who can’t read or write. It doesn’t make you any less of a person or any less of a man.” Now, she’s fiercely focused on improving childhood literacy.
1. She based her look on a “tramp”
Dolly’s always been open about the origins of her glamorous – and sometimes slightly risqué – image. And in October 2020 she retold that tale to Wired. The star revealed that she had based her aesthetic on a lady labeled the “town tramp” back in Tennessee. But while others derided this woman as cheap, the young Dolly was entranced. “I thought [that] she was so beautiful,” the star explained, “[but] everybody used to say, ‘Oh, she ain’t nothin’ but trash.’ And I used to say, ‘Well, that’s what I’m gonna be when I grow up — trash!’” Dolly added, though, “But I like to think I’m a little more than that.” Yes, she definitely is.
Dolly may be the first person to pop into your head when we say blonde, bubbly and born in the 1940s, but actress Goldie Hawn is sure to be the second. And like the country icon, there are a fair few facts about the movie star that even her most beloved fans won’t have heard.
Thanks to roles in movies such as Private Benjamin, Overboard and Death Becomes Her, Goldie Hawn became one of the most popular Hollywood actresses of the late 20th century. But how much do you really know about the Oscar winner? Well, these 20 Hawn facts may come as a surprise – even to the most devoted fans.
20. Her brother died before she was born
Goldie Hawn was born in 1945 to a mother who ran a dance school and a musician father who was a regular performer in bands across the future actress’ hometown of Washington, D.C. And she was the third child in the family, as her sister Patti had arrived seven years previously. Her brother Edward Jr., meanwhile, was born in 1937, but Hawn never met him as he tragically passed away in infancy.
19. She’s named after her great-aunt
Goldie Hawn may sound like the kind of stage name that an aspiring star would adopt on her way to chasing their Hollywood dream. It’s totally the Oscar winner’s real name, though. Hawn was given the moniker “Goldie” in tribute to her mother’s aunt, as the star revealed during her 2008 appearance on Inside the Actors Studio.
18. She dropped out of college
Hawn enrolled as a drama student at Washington, D.C.’s American University, but she never completed her course. Surprisingly, though, her mother and father were never too concerned about her educational achievements. Speaking on Oprah’s Master Class in 2012, Hawn said that her parents didn’t particularly care about any disappointing grades, since they always believed that one day she was going to be an actress.
17. She was once a ballet teacher
However, Hawn had several different everyday jobs before she made it to the bright lights of Hollywood. Following in her mother’s footsteps, she once worked as a ballet teacher in Washington, D.C. to make ends meet, for instance. And Hawn herself was no stranger to that particular form of dance, having had lessons in the discipline since the early age of three.
16. Her first husband was a dancer
A love of dance was something that Hawn seemingly had in common with her first husband. The star walked down the aisle with Gus Trikonis – best known for playing a Shark in the iconic musical West Side Story – in Honolulu in May 1969. Sadly, though, the marriage didn’t last, with the couple splitting less than four years later.
15. She had “more than a moment” with Warren Beatty
Hawn later confessed to having “more than a moment” with Warren Beatty during her first marriage. And while she hasn’t elaborated on exactly what is meant by that phrase, she has nevertheless discussed the time she spent filming $ with the Hollywood icon. “He was so handsome that I didn’t know if my eyes would burn inside my head if I looked at him long enough,” Hawn said during a 2017 appearance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen.
14. She recorded a country album
Just a few years after finding fame as an actress, Hawn proved that she had another string to her bow. In 1972 she released a country album, simply titled Goldie, on the Reprise Records label. She also managed to attract some pretty impressive collaborators to help her out, with both Buck Owens and Dolly Parton lending their voices to the record.
13. She sued two poster companies for invasion of privacy
Hawn certainly didn’t see the funny side when two companies used her image for a tongue-in-cheek promotion. Hole in the Wall and E.Z. Card Co. were forced to pay damages of $3,000 after featuring the star in an endorsement for potato chips brand Granny Goose captioned, “Granny who?” Hawn claimed that she had felt humiliated by the advert and that it had potentially hindered her ambitions to be taken seriously as a dramatic actress.
12. She turned down a role in Kramer vs. Kramer
The list of films Hawn has turned down is almost as long as the list of films she has actually appeared in. Kramer vs. Kramer is perhaps the most famous movie the star passed on during her career, with others including Hitchcock’s Family Plot, Pretty Baby, Atlantic City and Big Business. She also decided to jettison of 2014’s This Is Where I Leave You due to delayed shoots, with Jane Fonda ultimately replacing her as matriarch Hilary Altman.
11. She isn’t actually married to Kurt Russell
Having been together from 1983, Hawn and Kurt Russell have enjoyed one of Hollywood’s longest-lasting relationships. The pair first encountered one another as youngsters in 1966 while shooting The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band but only began dating afer filming Swing Shift 17 years later. However, contrary to what many people believe, the pair have never actually walked down the aisle together.
10. She moved to Vancouver to help her son pursue his dream
Hawn and Russell welcomed their first and only child into the world, Wyatt, in 1986. And the actress later proved that she would do a lot for their son. Indeed, Hawn once uprooted to Vancouver from Los Angeles just to support Wyatt’s hockey ambitions. She later told Harper’s Bazaar, “I wanted him to have his dream, and I wanted to be there as a mom.”
9. She has five different homes
Hawn and Russell have also developed quite the real estate portfolio. In fact, the pair own no fewer than five different houses across the United States and Canada. Alongside their place in the aforementioned Vancouver, the couple also own homes in Snowmass Village, Colorado, Manhattan and the Californian cities of Palm Desert and Brentwood.
8. She took a two-year hiatus to care for her mother
Following the success of Death Becomes Her and Housesitter, Hawn took a break from the industry to look after her sick mother. Sadly, though, after a two-year battle with cancer, mom Laura succumbed to the disease. Hawn eventually returned to the big screen in 1996 when she appeared alongside Dennis Quaid and Julia Roberts in the comedy Something to Talk About.
7. She took a pay cut to help The First Wives Club get made
The First Wives Club was one of the most successful comedies of the mid-1990s, raking in $180 million at the worldwide box office. However, studio bosses originally didn’t have much faith that audiences would go to see a comedy featuring three female leads. In fact, Hawn and her co-stars Bette Midler and Diane Keaton even had to take pay cuts just to ensure that the movie got made at all.
6. She starred in one of the all-time biggest box office flops
In 2001 Hawn teamed up again with the man she had “more than a moment with,” Warren Beatty, in Town & Country. However, their reunion didn’t exactly turn out to produce box-office gold. In fact, the comedy is widely regarded as one of the all-time biggest flops. Town & Country completely flew under the radar upon its North American release and subsequently earned just $7 million – a fraction of the $90 million it cost to make.
5. She launched a children’s educational foundation
In 2003 Hawn launched an eponymous foundation designed to improve academic achievement through various mindfulness techniques. Approximately two million youngsters across nine different nations participate in its main program, MindUP, including those in Canada, Serbia and the U.K. Hawn collaborated with psychologists and neuroscientists for several years to formulate its 15-lesson plan, which aims to reduce the stresses that children face today.
4. She’s battled depression and anxiety
Hawn knows all about the importance of mental health issues, having battled depression and anxiety herself. The star also underwent nine years of therapy following her sudden rise to fame as she struggled to deal with her new-found celebrity. In 2017 she told CBS News, “I was turned upside down about my own reality. I had anxiety, I didn’t want to go anywhere. I lost my smile.”
3. She meditates
Hawn also credits her daily meditation routines for her improved mental well-being. The star explained her relationship with the practice in an interview with healthy lifestyle magazine Prevention in 2012. She said, “I don’t think of myself as a Buddhist. I was born Jewish, and I consider that my religion. It’s not the idea of a particular religion that’s important; it’s the development of a spiritual life.”
2. Amy Schumer had to fight to get her cast in Snatched
After a self-imposed 15-year hiatus from the film world, Goldie Hawn made her eagerly awaited big-screen return in 2017’s Snatched. But co-star Amy Schumer had to fight to get the star a role in the movie, since 20th Century Fox had concerns about casting an actress who had been out of the public eye for a long time. However, the execs eventually relented when Schumer threatened to leave the project if they didn’t change their minds.
1. She once voiced a character in Phineas and Ferb
Snatched may have seen Hawn’s first performance in front of the camera in 15 years, but she wasn’t entirely absent from screens during this period. That’s because in 2013 the star voiced the character of neighbor Peggy McGee in the hit Disney animated show Phineas and Ferb. Her particular episode also featured an unlikely co-star in the shape of celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay.