With a career spanning six decades, Dolly Parton is one of the most iconic country music artists of all time. She began her career performing as a child and left home for Nashville the day after graduating high school. Although she didn’t hit it big right away, Parton had what it takes to become a star, and she’s since collected honors for 16 different Hall of Fames. Now in her 70’s, Parton isn’t showing any signs of slowing down anytime soon. Keep reading to learn Parton’s struggles, success, and the relationships she built to help her get to where she is today.
Big Family, Little Money
Dolly Parton was born in 1946 in Sevierville, Tennessee, the fourth child of twelve. She described her upbringing in a one-room cabin in the Great Smokey Mountains as being “dirt poor.” Her father worked in construction and farming, while her mother, oftentimes not in great health after giving birth to 12 kids by the age of 35, stayed at home raising Parton and her eleven siblings.
At eight-years-old, Parton was given her first guitar, and she began performing at the Church of God in Cleveland, Tennessee, where her grandfather was a pastor.