There’s no denying that Dolly Parton has that star quality about her — even when she was young. Of course, the only thing that catches your eye more than Dolly’s natural charm are her towering wigs, followed closely by her blinding stage outfits. After hearing her on the radio and watching her TV shows for more than six decades, we still haven’t tired of her spellbinding showmanship.
Outside of her decades-long music and film career, Dolly is warm, caring, and good-hearted. She started her organization, Imagination Library, to gift books to children in five different countries in 1995, and her program donated its 100 millionth book in 2018. There’s even a story about how Dolly cared for a baby named Jolene who had been left on Dolly’s doorstep.
Dolly has been a household name for such a long time that it’s hard to visualize her path to success. It’s like she’s always been famous; that’s just how it is. But while we love celebrating all of Dolly’s many accomplishments, it’s worth taking a look back at how she reached the pinnacle of success to acknowledge all her hard work and dedication. So, keep scrolling to take a trip down memory lane with these photos of a young Dolly Parton.
Dolly Parton Young
How glamorous does Dolly look in this headshot from 1987? This photo reminds us of Princess Diana’s famous Vogue cover from 1990.
Dolly Parton In Concert
Dolly flashed one of her signature ear-to-ear grins during a performance at The Bottom Line, a music club in New York City, in 1977. “I was a little bit nervous—on the brink of being scared,” she said in a New York Times article. “But when I walked out on stage, I was at ease. The crowd was just great.”
Dolly Parton 60s
In 1977, writer Jean Vallely was watching Dolly perform in Michigan when she recorded this explanation from the country star regarding the real story behind her hit song “Jolene.” “This is about a woman who tried to steal my man. She pulled my wig off and almost beat me to death with it. I fought that woman like a wildcat. I had another wig, but I didn’t want another man.”
Dolly Parton Through The Years
Dolly and actress Loni Anderson were all smiles in 1982 at the premiere of The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas in Nashville, Tennessee. Anderson later married Dolly’s co-star, Burt Reynolds.
Dolly Parton 1967
From September 1987 to May 1988, Dolly was the star of her own variety show, Dolly on ABC. Though the show only aired for 10 months, the premiere drew the largest audience for any series until Undercover Boss premiered in 2010.
Dolly Parton 9 5
Dolly and her 9 to 5 co-stars, Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda, looked fancy and fabulous at the New York City premiere of their film in 1980.
Dolly Parton 1960
The country singer looked toned down in a red turtleneck and denim button-up. Of course, she still sports her mile-high hair and voluminous curls.
Dolly Parton 70s
In 1981, Dolly appeared on the Mandrell sisters’ show, Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters. Barbara (the woman standing next to Dolly) and Dolly were friends, and Dolly made a speech when Barbara was inducted to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2009. “We’re all proud of you,” Dolly said. “When god made the universe he put most of the stars in the heavens, but he did leave a few here on earth like you to guide us along the way.”
Dolly Parton Siblings
Dolly Parton and her siblings, Stella (left) and Freida (center) sing together in 1981 at Bearsville Studios in Hollywood, California.
Dolly Parton 80s
John Belushi shows it’s impossible to dislike Dolly Parton as the two embrace.
Dolly Parton 1970
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