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Thread: Dolly Parton didn't sleep her way to the top

  1. #1
    Elite Member Honey's Avatar
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    Dec 2006

    Default Dolly Parton didn't sleep her way to the top

    High heels at Glastonbury. Fried squirrel for lunch. A gun on her lap and a secret husband...

    Dolly Parton looks like no one else on Earth as she walks into a downtown Nashville TV studio: the mountainous blonde wig, the painted red lips on that lifted face, the impossibly thin waist, the distracting breasts and the long vermilion nails are part of a look she has made uniquely her own.
    ‘He’s my curly-headed baby,’ Dolly starts singing, looking at my hair as I take my seat opposite her.
    ‘He used to sit on my mama’s knee.’
    There is a lot to take in when looking at Dolly Parton: the lemon-yellow jacket that’s having its stretchiness tested to destruction by her figure; the black three-quarter-length trousers; the lethal stilettos and her heavily made-up face. I ask if she would consider a no-make-up selfie.

    She smiles broadly: ‘That ain’t never gonna happen.’ It is 11.30 in the morning; Parton has, as usual, been up since three.
    It is this relentless work discipline that has helped the 68-year-old become the most successful country singer in history, not to mention one of the most instantly recognisable figures inmusic, with an estimated fortune of £260 million.
    She has written and recorded more than 3,000 songs – including the classics Jolene, 9 To 5 and Islands In The Stream – and sold an astonishing 100 million albums.

    'I don't have maids or servants and my husband and I love waking up early and going to the 24-hour supermarket when there is nobody else there,' said Dolly

    She’s a hugely shrewd and successful businesswoman, too, who owns everything from radio stations and restaurants to her own Tennessee theme park, Dollywood, which has rollercoasters, a country fair and a museum devoted to Parton.
    She’s first and foremost a family girl – Parton keeps a remarkable 100-plus members of the Parton clan on her payroll – but life is not all front-porch sweetness and dappled light.
    She has a secret side to her that is rarely revealed to the outside world: she has been married to a man who hasn’t been seen in public for almost 50 years, which has continually fuelled rumours of a lesbian relationship with her closest friend since childhood.
    And as she reveals during this exclusive interview, Parton holds views on gay marriage and gun control that may well surprise and shock many of her fans.

    But first, her British festival debut this summer.

    In June, Parton will make her first appearance at Glastonbury, where she will be playing in the Sunday early-evening legends’ slot, following in the footsteps of James Brown, Shirley Bassey and her old friend Kenny Rogers.
    If you want to know why that could be one of the highlights of this year’s festival, you only have to imagine Parton belting out her classics in a sun-drenched field with 80,000 people cheering on.

    Although she has already signed up to play, it quickly becomes clear that she hasn’t really done her homework. Do you know about the mud? I ask, pulling out my iPad, which I have helpfully loaded with some particularly appalling images of past Glastonbury festivals.
    ‘Oh no, look at that! Urgh!’ she shrieks, pointing at an image of a couple swimming in mud. When I ask if she will be investing in a pair of wellingtons, she shakes her head.
    ‘I am going to be wearing my high heels, but I just may stay in my bus until I have to get on stage.’
    She is shocked by the photographs, but Parton is unlikely to be truly fazed by the prospect of wading through mud to reach the outside toilets.
    ‘That’s how I grew up,’ she says. ‘If I’m tramping to the toilet through mud, that’s no big deal for me.’

    If there is such a thing as the American Dream, then Parton has lived it. The fourth of 12 children, she was raised in rural Tennessee in a two-room wood cabin without electricity or indoor plumbing and where the children slept four and five to a bed.

    Years later she would buy and renovate that cabin, and there is a replica of it at Dollywood.
    The family were so poor that as a treat, Parton’s mum would make ‘snow cream’.
    ‘We couldn’t afford sweets,’ she says. ‘In the winter my mama had some sugar stashed away, and she would mix it with a little vanilla flavouring and snow.’

    Meanwhile, Parton’s father, an illiterate sharecropper, would go with his sons to shoot animals to eat: bears, turtles, groundhogs and squirrels.
    So what does squirrel taste like?
    ‘Squirrel? Very sweet and tender, like the breast meat of a chicken.’
    Dolly still owns guns to this day.
    ‘They’re in the house but I don’t carry them, they’re just for protection: if anyone walked in on me I would probably shoot them.’
    In songs like Coat Of Many Colors, My Tennessee Mountain Home and Home, from her new album Blue Smoke, Parton has sung about the grinding hardship of those days, although she has always leavened it with protestations of the ‘we were poor but happy’ variety. But surely it must have been terrible being that poor?
    ‘We didn’t know we were poor until some smart alec told us.’

    But there were four of you sleeping in the same bed; you had to walk two miles to school... weren’t there any clues?
    ‘You don’t think of it like that. That’s family, that’s home.
    'Your neighbours live like that, that was just the way it was. But when I started to grow I realised I didn’t want to sleep in a bed with four people – unless I had chosen them!’
    Parton was a musical prodigy who started writing songs at the age of five and was singing on radio and television when she was only ten.
    At 12 she was performing at the legendary country music stage in Nashville, the Grand Ole Opry.
    The day after she graduated from high school, 17-year-old Parton left her home and headed to Nashville determined to become a star.
    A spectacularly beautiful young woman with that soon-to-be-world-famous figure, she admits she would meet music industry men who offered to help her career if she would sleep with them.

    'Most people can't understand two women being so close and devoted to each other. We've never been lovers, just good old pure sweet fun-loving friends,' said Dolly of her childhood friend Judy Ogle

    ‘I did meet a lot of sleazy guys, but I never slept with anyone to get where I wanted to go,’ she says, firmly.
    ‘I had grown up with brothers and uncles so I understood the nature of men, and if they got out of line I would make it light-hearted and turn it into a joke.’

    Among the first men Dolly would meet in Nashville was Carl Dean.
    Two years later, the couple were married. Yet despite Parton being one of the most famous women in the world, Dean has maintained an astonishingly low profile.
    A blurry photograph from their wedding in 1966 is one of only a handful of images of him, prompting rumours that he doesn’t exist. Parton rarely talks about him, but she opened up to Event about daily life inside their marriage, and how her husband copes with a wife who is often away.
    ‘Carl sees me today the way he first saw me,’ she says. ‘I’m not a star to him, and it has never dawned on me that I’m a star – I’m just a working girl.
    'I don’t have maids or servants and my husband and I love waking up early and going to the 24-hour supermarket when there is nobody else there.’

    Do you watch the pennies?
    ‘Carl is so stingy you’d think we had no money at all.’
    Is it hard for him to cope with you being away so much?
    ‘My husband knew that was what I came to Nashville to do. I told him, “If I am lucky and all things go the way I am dreaming and hoping and working towards, I am going to be gone a lot.” It has never been a problem.’
    And why is he so rarely spotted? ‘He just wants to be left alone.’
    Does he feel intimidated being married to someone more rich and successful than him?
    ‘He doesn’t care,’ she laughs. ‘I go out and make the money and he can sit on his backside at home. It’s a good gig for him!’

    Dean’s invisibility has prompted repeated speculation – always denied – that Dolly is actually in a lesbian relationship with her childhood friend Judy Ogle, who accompanies her everywhere and is in the studio, sitting quietly on her own, during our conversation.
    In her autobiography, My Life And Other Unfinished Business, Parton wrote: ‘Most people can’t understand two women being so close and devoted to each other.
    'We’ve never been lovers, just good old pure sweet fun-loving friends.’
    She has also said that, were she gay, she’d be privileged to have Judy as her partner.
    Today, she tells me: ‘I didn’t know any gay people in my childhood.
    'I do have a lot of gays in my family now, but some will never come out.’
    Gay marriage is legal in Britain but in Nashville it is outlawed.
    What if she had fallen in love with a Carla, not a Carl?
    ‘I think everyone should be with who they love,’ she says.
    ‘I don’t want to be controversial or stir up a bunch of trouble but people are going to love who they are going to love.
    'I think gay couples should be allowed to marry. They should suffer just like us heterosexuals. Ha ha ha!’

    Dean and Parton discovered that they could not have children when the singer was in her early 30s, but in public at least she has remained upbeat about this devastating blow.
    ‘We knew what we were going to name our children if we had had kids, but it never happened,’ she tells me. ‘And now we are older, we are glad we don’t have children.’
    But at the time when you were trying, did you feel angry that you didn’t fall pregnant?

    Dolly is a hugely shrewd and successful businesswoman, who owns everything from radio stations and restaurants to her own Tennessee theme park, Dollywood

    ‘I never did and my husband never did. I was focused on my career and if I’d had kids, I would have been more focused on that, so I probably would not have been a star. It was just not meant to be.’
    This summer Parton’s British fans will have a chance to see her on tour as she supports Blue Smoke, the 42nd album of her career.
    ‘Every time I’m in Britain I try to go to Selfridges. I love buying costume make-up and glitter and lipstick there, and I really enjoy going to Indian restaurants. I just love curry!’
    Parton is a huge Led Zeppelin fan and has recorded her own version of Stairway To Heaven. When I tell her that Robert Plant is also playing at Glastonbury, she shrieks with excitement.
    ‘He’s gonna be there? At the same time as me?’
    Don’t rule out the possibility of a guest appearance with Plant or the White Stripes’ Jack White, who is also playing at the festival and who has covered Jolene.
    ‘Jack was at the same restaurant as me recently,’ she says, ‘We thought we’d order everything so we’d know what to order next time we went.
    'Jack was there and he picked up our tab! I never felt so bad in my life because that bill must have been outrageous.’

    Dolly's Nashville home. 'I go out and make the money and he (husband Carl) can sit on his backside at home. It's a good gig for him!' she said

    She clearly adores White but is less effusive about Bob Dylan, whose Don’t Think Twice (It’s All Right) she covers on the new album.
    ‘I’ve met him a few times but I never felt any warmth from him to me,’ she says.
    ‘I think I have offended him somehow by the way I looked or the way I was. I love his music but he’s a weird buckaroo.’
    Although she is now nearing 70, there are no plans to retire.
    ‘I would only quit if I lost my voice or me or Carl had health problems,’ she says. ‘I hope to work till I fall over.’

    And then what? Does she believe in life after death?
    ‘I do. I am expecting to go somewhere far better than this, and I have enjoyed this.’
    Before she goes I ask one final question: would she agree that her outrageous look is also a form of armour to stop us getting to know the real Parton.
    ‘Oh no, I really am not that deep or smart.’
    I swear I spot a twinkle in her eye, because she must know she’s fooling no one. They don’t come much deeper or smarter than Dolly Parton.

    Read more: Dolly Parton: 'I'm a working girl. I like waking up early and going to the 24-hour supermarket with my husband': An unforgettable audience with Dolly Parton | Mail Online
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
    Brookie likes this.

  2. #2
    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
    fellow traveller


    i wish dylan and dolly could work out their difference and be friends.
    Just Kill Me likes this.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

  3. #3
    Elite Member Sylkyn's Avatar
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    Sep 2006
    Indahood, AL


    I absolutely adore Dolly Parton. She is a legend and a wonderful performer, and person.
    gas_chick likes this.

  4. #4
    Elite Member KrisNine's Avatar
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    Jul 2006
    Sleepy night night land


    She seems like a cool woman. Lives her life on her terms and enjoys it. Good for her.
    louiswinthorpe111 likes this.

  5. #5
    Elite Member WhateverLolaWants's Avatar
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    Sep 2007


    I love Dolly. She may look like a circus clown now, but I will always adore that woman.
    There will be times you might leap before you look
    There'll be times you'll like the cover and that's precisely why you'll love the book
    Do it anyway

  6. #6
    Elite Member Brookie's Avatar
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    Feb 2008
    In the "D"


    I love Dolly too, and I wish she'd have left her face alone. She looks like a completely different person to me.
    Life is short. Break the Rules. Forgive Quickly. Kiss Slowly. Love Truly.
    Laugh Uncontrollably. And never regret ANYTHING that makes you smile.

    - Mark Twain

  7. #7
    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Feb 2007


    I jes' love to hear her talk & gossip. Not a mean bone in that bod.
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

  8. #8
    Hit By Ban Bus! rockchick's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
    midwest USA


    I'm in on the Dolly love.

  9. #9
    Elite Member Annika's Avatar
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    May 2008


    she's the cutest little thing ever. i always though she was 'with' kenny rogers. but i guess that's not true. i dont' even remember rumors about them. i just assumed. they sang well together.

    i love the drunk history series.. especially the dolly one.

    sluce and darksithbunny like this.

  10. #10
    Elite Member msdeb's Avatar
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    Feb 2006
    in a van down by the river


    love me some Dolly. She knows what people say about her, and she agrees LOL
    Basic rule of Gossip Rocks: Don't be a dick.Tati
    Lighten Up Francis WCG

  11. #11
    Elite Member whitetigeress's Avatar
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    Sep 2010
    West coast of Canada, eh


    That's quite a modest (and beautiful) home for someone who has 260 million. I love that about her!

  12. #12
    Elite Member Bombshell's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
    in Delusion


    Dolly is the bomb diggity.
    "Shopping tip: You can get shoes for a buck at the bowling alley."

  13. #13
    Elite Member Mrs P's Avatar
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    Oct 2008


    I wish I lived next door to her. We'd have awesome champagne brunches on Sunday. I'd even bother using the kitchen for her!

  14. #14
    Elite Member Kathie_Moffett's Avatar
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    Feb 2007
    just another freak in the freak kingdom


    Not surprised at all by her views. Love her. I feel a photo love-in coming on. Dolly was always so gorgeous.

    High school:

    with Carl Dean:

    with "Popeye":

    Judy Ogle and Dolly as children--Judy's 4th from the left, Dolly's at far right:

    Yes, this is John Belushi:

    And Mick Jagger


    Did you know that every time a parent gives in to their kid's whines and buys them candy at the checkout lane, a kitten gets diabetes?-Dlisted
    I dislike groups of people, but I love individuals. Every person you look at, you can see the universe in their eyes, if you're really looking.
    -George Carlin

  15. #15
    Elite Member Mel1973's Avatar
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    Apr 2006


    dolly doesn't give a damn. she's always said "it's not cheap to look this trashy"... and she means it and she loves it!!!
    Kill him.
    Kill her.
    Kill It.
    Kill everything... that IS the solution!
    twitchy molests my signature!

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