Retro | Celebrity

12 Facts About Dolly Parton That Prove She's A Living Legend

The Queen of Tennessee has been making music since before many of us were born. No matter how you feel about country music, there's no doubt that Dolly Parton is a legend, both for her incredible voice and for her larger-than-life character.

Here are 12 facts you may not have known about everyone's favourite blond bombshell.

1. Her father paid for her birth with cornmeal

The Parton

Parton's family was so poor that when she was born, her father did not have any money to pay the doctor. He ended up giving him a bag of cornmeal for his services.

2. She composed her first song before she could read

Dolly Parton's first song was "Little Tiny Tassletop" which she wrote about her corn cob doll when she was only three years old. She couldn't read or write yet so her mother wrote the lyrics down for her. Parton still performs the song sometimes. You can find a video of her singing the song here.

3. She did not have a good time in school

After her performance on local TV, Parton returned to school to find out her classmates were jealous about her. So jealous, in fact, that they locked her in a dark coat closet. Till this day, she has always been afraid of the dark and sleeps with a nightlight on.

4. She fell in love with her husband as a teenager

Parton first met her husband, Carl Dean, at the local laundromat when she only 18. According to him, he drove by in his white pickup and said to her, "You're going to get sunburned in that outfit." The two were married two years later.

5. She's very short

Barefoot, Dolly Parton stands at only five feet tall. She jokes that she wears her large wigs and high heels to make her seem taller. In comparison, her husband, Carl stands at six feet, a whole head taller than her.

6. Her song Jolene was about a real person

According to Parton, Jolene's character was inspired by a red-headed bank teller who had a crush on her husband. Parton used to tease her husband because he loved going to the bank for attention from the woman, telling him, "Hell, you're spending a lot of time at the bank. I don't believe we've got that much money in the bank."

7. Dolly the sheep was named after her

Dolly the sheep, the world's first cloned mammal, was named after Dolly Parton's generous bust. At the time the scientist on team, Ian Wilmut said, "Dolly is derived from a mammary gland cell, and we couldn't think of a more impressive pair of glands than Dolly Parton's."

8. She had a surprising inspiration behind her iconic looks

Parton was inspired to adopt her big blonde hair, red lips and pink cheeks by the local prostitute. In an interview she said, "I had never seen anybody, you know, with the yellow hair all piled up and the red lipstick and the rouge and the high heeled shoes, and I thought, 'This is what I want to look like.'"

9. She once lost a Dolly Parton look-alike contest

A Dolly Parton Look-alike Contest in

As a bit of fun, Parton once entered a drag queen look-alike contest and lost miserably. None of the contestants knew the Dolly Parton look-alike was actually her.

"They had a bunch of Chers and Dollys that year, so I just over-exaggerated -- made my beauty mark bigger, the eyes bigger, the hair bigger, everything," she said. But her look proved to be the least popular. "I just got in the line and I just walked across, and they just thought I was some little short gay guy.. but I got the least applause."

10. Her theme park is the largest employer in her hometown

In 1986, Parton opened the Dollywood theme park to provide employment in her hometown of Sevierville. The park continues to be a lucrative business and currently hires about 3,000 employees. Despite opening it 30 years ago, Parton is too terrified to ride any of the rides.

11. She turned down Elvis Presley's request to buy her song rights

According to Parton, Presley's manager once called her and told her that Elvis would only record songs they had half the publishing rights to. As Presley was set to record a cover of her hit song, "I will always love you," his manager was hoping to buy the publishing rights so they could profit off it later. Parton turned them down.

12. Her husband has only seen her perform twice

Parton's husband, Carl notoriously dislikes the spotlight. According to her, he attended a few parties when they were first married but told her he did not want to do it again. Since then, the retired asphalt paver prefers to enjoy a quiet life with his wife and has only seen her perform "once, maybe twice."