From elections to guns to the economy, Americans have no shortage of things to disagree about – except Dolly Parton. Based on a YouGov survey, only 6% of people held a negative opinion about her. Her music, movies, charity work and iconic look make Dolly a darling of country music and a mainstay of American culture.
There is no doubt Dolly Parton has an incredible career. She has 25 No. 1 singles on the Billboard country music charts, nine Grammy awards and 49 nominations, over 90 albums, 799 songs, an entire theme park and more. Songs such as “Jolene,” “9 to 5” and “I Will Always Love You,” which was covered by Whitney Houston in 1992, have rightfully earned their place in American music history. Dolly is not only one of the most iconic artists in country music, but in music as a whole.
Born fourth of 12 children to a poor farming family in Locust Ridge, Tennessee, Dolly Parton is a true American success story. Her songs “Coat of Many Colors” and “My Tennessee Mountain Home” are written about her experiences growing up in rural Appalachia. Her exposure to Appalachian folk music as a child heavily influenced especially her early music.
Despite her success, Dolly never forgot her roots and is heavily involved in charity work in Appalachia. In 1995, she established Imagination Library, which sends free books to children from birth to age five to encourage a love of reading and support literacy. She is involved in nine charities supporting causes such as foster care, animal welfare and music education. Recently, Parton gave $1 million to Vanderbilt University for research towards developing a COVID-19 vaccine . She is committed to using her fame and fortune to make a difference.
Regardless of her famous wigs, rhinestones and butterflies, Dolly is taken seriously as a musician. Her reputation and respect within the music and entertainment industry is a testament to her incredible talent and drive. There’s a reason Dolly is so beloved. She works hard, stays humble and minds her own business. Her legendary career is a direct result of her character: she is unapologetically herself. The impact she has made, and continues to make, in entertainment, charity and American culture as well as her rare ability to bring people together is why Dolly Parton is a national treasure.