'Biography: Dolly': Fans call Dolly Parton a 'treasure' for her musical legacy and rags-to-riches story

'Biography: Dolly': Fans call Dolly Parton a 'treasure' for her musical legacy and rags-to-riches story
Dolly Parton (Getty Images)

The recent A&E documentary, 'Biography: Dolly' aired on Sunday night, April 12, showing Dolly Parton fans a behind-the-scenes look at the celebrated country music diva's image and legacy. Many fans were inspired by her rags-to-riches story, and plenty more were surprised by her enduring contributions to the entertainment industry that had slipped between the cracks of music history. 

A young Dolly Parton (A&E)

Dolly Parton grew up poor in Locust Ridge, Tennessee. As one of 12 children, she didn't have much growing up, but she did have dreams of making it out of her small town. She always grew up surrounded by music; however, her family members, including her mother, sang and played guitar. Young Dolly also took to performing in the church choir, which made her realize she loved singing and wanted to make a career out of it. From the tender age of 10, she started performing music on local television and radio shows in Knoxville, Tennesse. She made her Grand Ole Opry debut three years later, and moved to Nashville at 18, right after finishing high school.

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She met her husband Carl Dean on her very first day in Nashville and got married in secret two years later in 1966, against the wishes of her record label, who wanted to market her as a single and available bombshell star. Interestingly, the documentary revealed that it was her reclusive husband Carl Dean who was the inspiration for hits like beloved country hits like 'Jolene', 'From Here to the Moon and Back,' and 'Forever Love,' among others. Even more surprisingly, many fans didn't realize that it was Dolly Parton who originally sang 'I Will Always Love You' which was made famous by Whitney Houston later on in the '90s.

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Parton's singing career gained traction in 1967 and at around the same time, she partnered with Porter Wagoner on his TV show. The popular duo gained considerable success throughout the United States and recorded many country hits together. Dolly achieved notoriety for her buxom curves, petite figure, and warm personality, but this image was something that Dolly had aspired to from an early age. As the biography notes, Dolly Parton was rather taken by an attractive young woman in her hometown, who was apparently a rather loose woman about town, labeled by her mother at the time as "trashy." But Dolly saw nothing wrong with that, and her cultivated image of a "Backwards Barbie," or a high-class white trash girl worked wonders for her. More than 50 years later, she is a global music superstar and has amassed an empire thanks to her savvy business and a keen love for fan engagement and charitable causes like the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. 

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Country and western superstar singer Dolly Parton entertains the audience at the Magna Science And Adventure Park on December 5, 2007 (Getty Images)

Her fans were effusive in their praise after the documentary aired, saying "Can this woman get any sweeter than she already is? Apparently she can!" Others were astounded by her musical contributions, saying, "I had no idea Dolly freaking Parton did the song that I have loved Whitney Houston for all my life. Oh, my days!" and "Wow, I never realized the song 'Jolene' came from such a heartbreaking place."

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Some admirers tweeted their admiration for her caring personality, saying, "I've said it before, I'll say it again, Dolly Parton is the only rich boomer I trust!" Other viewers confessed that they shared Dolly's taste in cultivated looks, with one tweeting, "Not gonna lie, I love bimbo women. Something about them is just so good like the confidence of it all, I love it. You know that Dolly Parton interview where she says she looked up to the town tramp? That's me."

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As one ardent follower reviewed the informative documentary, "It was absolutely riveting! You are a treasure and I will always love you!"

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