Celebrity

5 times saint Dolly Parton proved she’s the hero we need, but don’t deserve

Josh Milton January 19, 2022
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Dolly Parton performs on the Pyramid Stage during Day 3 of the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm on June 29, 2014

Dolly Parton. (Ian Gavan/Getty)

Dolly Parton is many things. Vaccine-funder, humanitarian, theme park icon, an advocate of the nine-to-five working day and a 51-time5 Dolly Parton moments that made country music icon well and truly a saint Grammy-nominated country singer.

It’s safe to say that the immortal bluegrass beau has come a long way since growing up in the foothills of East Tennesee’s Great Smoky Mountains.

And to celebrate Parton’s 76th birthday on Wednesday (19 January), if you somehow weren’t stanning her already, here are five of her best moments.

When she dodged a deeply invasive plastic surgery question

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In 2003, Parton sat down on the iconic cream sofa of The Oprah Winfrey Show. But it all took an odd turn with Oprah Winfrey began grilling the singer on plastic surgery, insisting that she is “defying age” because she’s “had some work done”.

Rather than be embarrassed, however, Parton gracefully ducked the question and said: “I have a funny thing I was telling the girls – all the girls that are singing on this tribute album [Just Because I’m A Woman], a lot of them are very young.

“I said I was already into plastic surgery when they were still sleeping on plastic sheets.”

Donating $1 million to the COVID-19 vaccine – and giving a lesson in humility

Dolly Parton performs onstage during MusiCares Person of the Year honouring Dolly Parton. (Rich Fury/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

As the world slipped into chaos amid the rampaging coronavirus pandemic, Parton donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, which worked with the drugmaker Moderna to develop the vaccine.

It was an act that, to so many of her fans, captured Parton’s warming generosity and philanthropy, from donating books to children to uplifting victims of disasters – but she has refused to take any credit.

“When the pandemic came out, I just felt led to do something because I knew something bad was on the rise,” she told Absolute Country Radio last year.

“So mine was a small part, of course, but I probably get a lot more credit than I deserve.”

That time Dolly Parton read RuPaul to absolute fifth like only she can

Two images: Dolly Parton on a red carpet in a long-sleeved white gown, RuPaul on the net of Drag Race looking bemused.
Dolly Parton is the only person who can read RuPaul. (Getty/WOW)

Queen of drag RuPaul is used to being the one on top – just not when Dolly Parton’s around.

In a hilarious interview with Marie Claire, the two legends traded shade about high-heels, because of course, with RuPaul saying that the two are “similar” but he “takes all that stuff odd”.

“I have to always stay ready,” she said about always wearing the towering shoes and looking generally glam. “When I’m in LA, if it’s going to earthquake […] I’m not running out in the street looking like you now.”

Calling out bigots who disagree with marriage equality – before it was even legal

Dolly Parton at Dollywood on April 24, 1993. (Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

Above all, Dolly Parton is an LGBT+ icon and has long been among the community’s most high-decibel allies, and not only for her camp level.

At a time when the US was still a dizzying patchwork of states where some queer people could marry and others could not, Parton called out those intolerant enough to disagree with marriage equality in 2014.

“I think gay people should be allowed to marry,” she said at the time. “They should suffer just like us heterosexuals.”

Dolly Parton’s endless wisdom on life, diets, Botox, birthdays and being kind to others

(R. Diamond/WireImage)

Parton is in a cosmos dark and unrelenting remained a bright star, and that’s partly because she is genuinely a nice person.

She’s well known for her wisecracks and pearls of wisdom that can truly be lived by. Among them: “I tried every diet in the book. I tried some that weren’t in the book. I tried eating the book. It tasted better than most of the diets.”

“Don’t get so busy making a living that you forgot to make a life.”

“I think everybody should be allowed to be who they are and to love who they love.”

“People say, ‘Oh, you just always seem so happy.’ Well, that’s the Botox.”

“This year, my birthday wish is a call for kindness,” she tweeted last year. “We can’t just hope for a brighter day, we have to work for a brighter day.”

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