Happy Birthday, Dolly Parton! Country legend turns 70

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Country music superstar Dolly Parton on March 6, 2009. (Photo: Cody McCloy/CNN)

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Country music star Dolly Parton turns 70 on Tuesday.

Here’s a look at the life of the Grammy Award-winning entertainer and businesswoman.


Birth date: January 19, 1946

Birth place: Locust Ridge, Sevier County, Tennessee

Birth name: Dolly Rebecca Parton

Father: Robert Lee Parton, farmer

Mother: Avie Lee (Owens) Parton

Marriage: Carl Dean (May 1966-present)

Other Facts

Has received 46 Grammy Award nominations, and won seven competitive awards and one special award.

Nominated for two Academy Awards, one Tony Award and one Emmy Award.

Has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide.

Founder of the Dollywood Foundation which was created to help inspire children in her home town to “Dream More, Learn More, Care More, and Be More!”

The Dollywood Foundation currently funds the Dolly Parton Imagination Library — a program which began in Sevier County, Tennessee, and provides preschool-aged children with a book every month from birth to kindergarten. The program has spread to other parts of the country and internationally.

Was born fourth of 12 children. Six of her siblings worked as professional musicians.

Her family was very poor when she was growing up, which was an inspiration for some of her earlier songs.


1957 – Records her first song, “Puppy Love,” with Goldband Records.

1959 – First guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry at the age of 13.

1964 – Moves to Nashville after graduating from high school.

1967 – Joins “The Porter Wagoner Show.”

1967 – First full-length album titled “Hello, I’m Dolly,” is released on Monument Records.

1968 – Wins Country Music Association award, with Porter Wagoner, for Vocal Group of the Year.

January 4, 1969 – Becomes a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

1971 – “Joshua” becomes Parton’s first solo single to top the U.S. country charts.

April 1974 – Leaves “The Porter Wagoner Show.” Parton writes the song “I Will Always Love You” in honor of her professional break from duet partner and mentor Porter Wagoner.

1975, 1976 – Receives the Country Music Association award for female vocalist of the year.

1976 – Her syndicated variety show “Dolly!” runs on television.

1978 – Receives the Country Music Association Award for entertainer of the year.

1978 – Wins a Grammy for Best Country Vocal Performance, Female, for the song “Here You Come Again.”

1980 – Appears in her first film, “9 to 5,” for which she later earns an Oscar nomination for best original song.

1981 – Wins two Grammys. Best Country Vocal Performance, Female, for the song “9 to 5;” and, as a songwriter, Best Country Song, also for “9 to 5.”

May 3, 1986 – The theme park Dollywood opens in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

1987 – Wins a Grammy, with Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt, for Best Country Performance By A Duo Or Group for the album, “Trio.”

1987-1988 – Parton’s primetime variety show on ABC, “Dolly,” airs for one season.

1988 – Establishes the Dollywood Foundation.

1992 – Whitney Houston releases her version of the song “I Will Always Love You,” which tops the Billboard Hot 100 for 14 weeks, a record at the time.

1994 – Releases an autobiography titled “Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business.”

1999 – Wins a Grammy, with Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt, for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals for the song “After the Gold Rush.”

1999 – Is inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

2000 – Wins a Grammy, with Gary Paczosa and Steve Buckingham, for Best Bluegrass Album for the album “The Grass is Blue.”

2001 – Wins a Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for the song “Shine.”

May 19, 2001 – The waterpark, Dolly’s Splash Country, opens in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

April 14, 2004 – The U.S. Library of Congress awards Parton with the Living Legend medal.

2005 – Named a recipient of the National Medal of Arts.

2006 – Becomes a Kennedy Center honoree.

2011 – Receives a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

December 10, 2015 – NBC airs the movie, “Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors.” It is inspired by Parton’s life and her song, “Coat of Many Colors.”

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