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A Look Back at Dolly Parton’s Impressive Career as a Musician, Actress and Humanitarian

Photo from Dolly Parton’s Instagram

A Look Back at Dolly Parton’s Impressive Career as a Musician, Actress and Humanitarian

By Movieguide® Contributor

Dolly Parton is one of the world’s most beloved musical icons, creating country songs that have become huge hits, starring in movies, and helping thousands through her humanitarian efforts. 

Parton recorded her first single in 1962 and rose to fame as a duet partner for Porter Wagoner. The two churned out hits like “Please Don’t Stop Loving Me” and “Making Plans.” Parton soon left the show and struck out on her own, launching a hugely successful music career.

Some of her biggest hits include “Jolene,” “I Will Always Love You,” “Here You Come Again,” “Islands in the Stream (feat. Kenny Rogers)”, and “9 to 5.”

“9 to 5” was the theme song for a movie of the same name, which was another huge hit for Parton. She also starred in projects like STEEL MAGNOLIAS and JOYFUL NOISE. 

Parton has also produced projects based on her music, like DOLLY PARTON’S COAT OF MANY COLORS and DOLLY PARTON’S HEARTSTRINGS. 

Her achievements in music, movies, and television are nothing compared to her impressive charity work over the years. Her literacy program, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, provides books to almost 850,000 children around the world each year. In 2018, the Imagination Library donated its 100 millionth book. 

Her Dollywood Foundation raises money for a number of causes, including creating new hospitals, helping those affected by wildfires, and funding cancer research and COVID-19 vaccine development. 

Parton is also someone of strong faith, and uses that faith to influence her work. Movieguide® previously reported:

The 73-year-old country singer Dolly Parton is an iconic artist who continues to pursue her faith and career.  

Aside from her long and award-winning music career, Parton is also known for TV and movies like her Netflix show DOLLY PARTON’S HEARTSTRINGS or CHRISTMAS ON THE SQUARE, for which she won Movieguide®’s Grace Prize®.  The “These Old Bones” episode of DOLLY PARTON’S HEARTSTRINGS won Movieguide®’s Faith and Freedom® Award for Television. 

Parton is candid about her faith in God and said that she knew to follow God’s plan for her life from a young age. 

“My grandpa was a Pentecostal preacher. So healing and praying and being anointed and all that stuff was nothing new to us, cause we survived because of our faith in God,” Parton said.

Parton recalled an older woman praying over her in her childhood church. 

“She said I was anointed and [that] I was going to do great things,” Parton remembered. “Mama said…that just means that God has his hand on you, that you may do something special.” 

“But that triggered a faith in me, because I believe that I was supposed to do something good…I never let go of that because I always felt responsible to God that I was supposed to be doing something for God. And so I still feel like that. And I’m still doing it. Trying to,” she added.  

Despite Parton’s fame and awards in almost every area of entertainment, she held on to her faith in God.  

“I really feel like I have a calling,” Parton said. “I feel like God had told me early on in a feeling that I was supposed to go till He told me to stop and He [hasn’t] said nothing yet about quitting. And so I ain’t said nothing about retiring yet.”

Parton also lives out her faith in prayer. 

“Every day I pray for God to lead me and to take out all the wrong things, wrong people in my life, bring all the right things, right people in, and to let me glorify Him and uplift mankind,” Parton said. “Let me be a light, and a vessel to be used…I just really want to do what I can in this world to make things better, if I can.”

Parton added: “There’s something bigger and better than us and we need to connect to that to make us better people. And the more you can draw from that, the better off you are, not just for yourself, but for all the things from people that you can touch by believing that.”

Parton’s success and dedication to helping others has made her one of the biggest stars in the world, and her fans can’t wait to see what she does next!