Dolly Parton has maintained her modesty throughout her successful career as a singer, businessman, and philanthropist, despite the fact that she has earned a great amount of fame and riches. It shouldn’t come as a shock that success has followed her everywhere she goes.
Parton is able to empathize with those who struggle to make ends meet because of her upbringing in a big family. She has worked her way up to become one of the most powerful stars in Hollywood, but in spite of all of her success, she has never forgotten where she came from.
Dolly Rebecca Parton, better known by her stage name, was welcomed into the world by her parents on Locust Ridge in Sevierville, Tennessee, on January 19, 1946. Her true name is Dolly Rebecca Parton. Her birth took place in a little cottage with one bedroom. She was one of 11 children.
Her father, Robert Lee Parton, was a tenant farmer who supplemented his income by working in construction when he wasn’t out in the fields. He was illiterate. Because he had no opportunity to have an education, he was illiterate and incapable of writing.
The country icon was brought up in a household that placed a strong emphasis on music, so he was frequently exposed to it throughout his childhood. In spite of the challenging conditions in which they were living, they were able to find pleasure and connection via singing.
Avie Lee Owens, Dolly Parton’s mother, was a singer in her own right and passed on her musical knowledge to her daughter. She introduced her daughter to a variety of music, including Elizabethan ballads and church tunes that had been passed down through her family for many years.
While this was going on, Parton’s grandpa, Jake Robert Owens, was serving as a preacher and writing the song “Singing His Praise.” The musical pursuits of some of Dolly Parton’s siblings led to their participation in the group that the family ran.
In addition, Parton had a musically talented uncle by the name of Sam Owens, who was also a singer-songwriter in his own right. When she was a little kid, her uncle, who had a passion for music, was the first person to see that she had the talent to one day become a great musician.
Stella Mae, Cassie Nan, the twins Freida Estelle and Rachel Ann, Willadeene, David Wilburn, Coy Denver, Bobby Lee, Robert, and Larry are all members of Dolly Parton’s family. Other siblings include Stella Mae and Cassie Nan. Robert passed away in 2021 after a long and difficult struggle with cancer, and Larry passed away shortly after birth.
Parton was the fourth oldest of her family’s total of 12 children, therefore she regularly assisted her parents in taking care of the younger children. She and her family shared a confined space beneath a single roof.
At that time, there was only one bedroom and one living room available in the log cabin, and neither running water nor electricity was available. To this day, the property has not been damaged in any way.
Parton has never been shy about acknowledging her less-than-privileged origins or how those experiences have shaped the way that she approaches life. Because she was raised in a big family that had few assets, she is quite aware of the difficulties that come along with being poor.
Parton reflected on her youth in the mountains of rural Tennessee during an interview with The Guardian in 2016. The conversation took place in 2016. She concentrated on the happier childhood recollections that came to her mind first. In her words:
“Of course, not everything went according to plan, but the good experiences are the ones I want to remember,” she said.
She recalled the days she had spent with her brothers, singing at church, and performing chores—all of which she had been less than enthusiastic about. She also recalled the many hilarious moments she had with her family and how much laughing they had together.
Parton made a remark about how her brothers and sisters would always sing and how she would always try to get them to be her backup singers when she tried to pretend to be the lead singer on stage, but they were completely uninterested in doing so. Despite her efforts, they did not join her on stage when she pretended to be the lead singer.
Parton noted that her family’s modest home was always crowded with her many siblings, which led to a lot of mocking and fighting among them. Nevertheless, despite the mayhem, they never strayed from their commitment to one another as a family.
She went on to say that the cabin was too cramped for her and her siblings to spend much time inside, so they did most of their activities outdoors. The area outdoors was used as additional room for social activities such as eating together, enjoying entertainment, and playing games.
Parton said that she and her family were thankful for the fact that they had food and a roof over their heads. Even while it was not exactly what they wanted, her parents were eager to point out that there were other families who had it far worse than they did. She was able to recall:
“We were impoverished yet I never felt poor.”
In spite of the fact that her family came from a lower-middle-class background, Dolly Parton went on to become one of the most famous and renowned country music artists of all time because of her drive and skill in the music industry.
Parton said that while she had good recollections of her childhood, growing up in poverty meant that she had to live in situations that were difficult. She had a family of 14 and lived in a shanty with them. They had restricted access to fundamental requirements such as the opportunity to take a bath.
In an interview with the writer Lawrence Grobel that was published in Playboy magazine in March 1978, she said that she was only eight years old when she first saw a toilet and bathroom while she was visiting her aunt’s house and that she was captivated by them.
Parton, while laughing about how naive and clueless they were back then, said that she and her brothers had a fear of using the toilet because they believed it would pull them in. “It was just so strange,” she remarked thinking about it now.
The Parton family did not have the luxury of taking a bath each and every day. They made their own soap on a regular basis, and on occasion, they would all get into the truck and go to the river to wash their clothes in the river’s waters.
Although there was a brook close to where they lived, the river was their favored place to take a bath since it served as a “large bath” for all of them to use simultaneously. They would take turns washing each other’s hair and swimming together in the river as their handmade soap floated downstream.
Parton recalled making a joke about how unclean they were, remarking that their filth would have made a ring around the Little Pigeon River and comparing their dip in the river to taking a bath in a bathtub. They would go through the motions every summer by taking dips in the river.
The whole family would share a single pan of water throughout the colder months of the year in order to facilitate frequent hand washing. Parton gave the following response to Grobel’s question about the number of times she and her family would take baths during the winter season:
According to an old proverb, we showered once a week regardless of whether or not we really needed to.
As she progressed through high school, Dolly Parton placed a greater emphasis on the practice of bathing. Because of the dirty habits of her younger siblings at bedtime, she would always wash her hair and take a bath before going to sleep. It was discovered that
“Every night, the children urinated on me. There were three of us and sometimes four of us in the bed. I washed my hair every single night. In addition, the moment I lay down for the night, the children will pee on me, and I will have no choice but to get up and repeat the process the next morning.”
Parton, unafraid to voice her ideas on the matter, noted that despite the fact that being peed on would seem filthy to some people, in her opinion, the urine was their source of warmth during the colder months of the year.
She remembered how cold it was at home since she lived in the mountains, and she even stated that it was almost pleasant to be peed on because the room was as frigid as the outdoors. She said this because the temperature inside was the same as the temperature outside. She said that they would all wrap themselves in blankets and get to bed.
Parton has said that her family was happy and prosperous in other respects, despite the fact that they were poor. Her upbringing instilled in her a sense of moderation, and even when she became wealthy, she never ceased helping others who were in need, just as her own family had been many years before. Her observation was as follows:
“My family will always be the person I care most about in this world. There is always some connection to my family in the things that I do, but there are times when it gets buried under other priorities.”
She noted that her family is the primary source of inspiration for her music and that both her theme park, Dollywood, and Dixie Stampede, which is one of the acts at the park, are designed to encourage families to spend time together and have fun.
A self-made millionaire, Dolly Parton’s projected net worth in 2022 was $375 million, according to estimates provided by Forbes. The majority of her monetary success may be attributed to her ownership rights to a theme park as well as music publishing.
She has authority over more than 3,000 songs, one of which being the critically praised song “I Will Always Love You,” which she refused to give to Elvis Presley in the 1970s so that she could keep all of the credit for herself. When Whitney Houston recorded the song in the 1990s, the move turned out to be beneficial for everybody involved.
When her songs have been included in movies, aired, or sold, Dolly Parton has been compensated with a publication fee. According to Forbes, the combined value of her songs is around $150 million, and the publication estimates that she has earned between $6 and $8 million in royalties.
However, the music icon’s vast riches comes from her famed theme park known as Dollywood. Dollywood is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the state of Tennessee and allegedly takes in $3 million each year.
In 1968, the country artist made an investment in a theme park located in Tennessee and known as Pigeon Forge. After some time, she gave it the name “Dollywood,” which is a pun on the term “Hollywood.” The park has both a hotel and a water park inside its grounds.
Doggy Parton, which is a pun on her own name, is the name of a new business that Dolly Parton has only lately established. Her passion for all kinds of animals served as the impetus for starting her own business, which now makes dog toys and apparel lines.
She had her youth in poverty, which taught Dolly Parton that it is necessary to share her success with others. In addition to her career as a singer and entrepreneur, Parton is also involved in a number of other civic and humanitarian organizations. She is now able to give millions to individuals who are less fortunate.
In 2016, Dolly Parton joined forces with a group of singers to help fund $13 million for the survivors of the wildfires that occurred in East Tennessee. These flames were responsible for the destruction of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg in the state of Tennessee.
Other well-known musicians performed in the “Smoky Mountains Rise A Benefit for the My People Fund” event. These musicians include Chris Stapelton, Kenny Rogers, Lauren Alaina, Alison Krauss, Reba McEntire, Cyndi Lauper, and Chris Young.
After her niece got treatment for leukemia at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville in 2017, Parton decided to make a donation in the amount of one million dollars to the hospital.
Parton not only helped individuals who were struggling financially as a result of natural catastrophes, but she also made a big contribution to the field of medicine by giving a generous donation of a large amount of money to a variety of medical organizations.
In the year 2020, she made news when she gave $1 million to the cause of vaccine development in the midst of the COVID-19 epidemic, which affected people all over the globe. Her work was an important contributor to the development of the Moderna vaccine.
In addition, Dolly Parton is well-known for the fact that she has spent her whole life working to encourage early reading in children. She has provided free books to more than one million children on a monthly basis via her Imagination Library initiative, which is a non-profit organization.
In 1995, Dolly Parton and her father, Robert Lee, established a charitable foundation with the mission of assisting youngsters in the development of their reading and writing skills. Because he did not have access to educational chances when he was younger, her father was illiterate.
Her father served as the primary motivating factor in the development of the program. The charitable organization’s roots are in eastern Tennessee, but because to its expansion, it is currently providing assistance to children in all fifty states and the District of Columbia.
The literacy program that she and her father developed has spread to other nations, including Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. In 2018, in order to commemorate the fact that the program has distributed its 100 millionth book, Dolly Parton made a trip to the Library of Congress.
Because Parton only ran the campaign because she cared about helping her father and the people in her area, she never dreamed it would be successful. She enthusiastically commented, “But then it just took its own wings, and I think it was meant to be.” “But then it just took its own wings.”
Before he passed away in the year 2000, her father was able to see the achievements of their effort. Parton has remarked that her father took a great deal of satisfaction in the fact that he was able to make a real contribution toward something worthy before he passed away.
In addition, her goals for the Imagination Library are quite lofty and expansive. She acknowledged that she has lofty goals and that she wants to donate a total of one billion books, maybe even within the course of her lifetime.
Despite the fact that she had a difficult upbringing, Parton never lost sight of how important the bonds of family and community are. She leveraged her fortune to help others by contributing millions of dollars each year to a variety of charity organizations, such as those related to education, health, and relief efforts after natural disasters.
Her modest upbringing instilled in her an appreciation for the importance of toil and persistence, as well as the ability of music to bring people together. And when she reflects on her life, she recalls the love, laughter, and pleasure that permeated the house where she spent her youth, as well as the family that was there for her at every turn and helped her succeed.