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The Celebrity Archaeology Podcast

May 11, 2018

Well, Hello Dolly!  This episode photo of bootylicious Dolly Parton was taken in 1978. The five foot tall singer, songwriter and actress with the hourglass figure and big bouffant hair has been churning out hits for decades. "I like the big hair and the gaudy clothes. I’ve never thought of myself as being a sex symbol and I don’t want to have to be a beautiful woman, like Raquel Welch. 'I want people to know it’s me when they see me coming and when they see me leavin'... 'so I figured I might as well look even more extreme,'" she said in an interview." The New Yorker described her voice as "baby-high soprano." It can be heard on such hits as "Jolene" and "Here You Come Again," which earned Dolly her first Grammy Award. In 1983, she wrote and recorded "I Will Always Love You" about her professional split with country legend Porter Wagoner. They were a successful vocal duo who recorded such songs as "The Last Thing On My Mind," and "Please, Don't Stop Loving Me." In 1992, Dolly's "I Will Always Love You" would be recorded again but by Whitney Houston for the soundtrack "The Bodyguard." It would turn out to be one of the best-selling singles of all time." When asked what she did with all of the profit from that song she said she just went out and bought more wigs! Dolly has appeared on the screen in a list of duds but also had some great success with "Steel Magnolias," and "9 to 5" which she (again) wrote and recorded the theme song. Dolly was born into poverty on January19, 1946 in Sevierville, Tennessee.  Her childhood home in the Great Smokey Mountains was a log cabin with no running water or electricity. She was one of 12 children born to her tobacco farmer father and her mother who was a housewife. She was also the first in her family to graduate from high school. At age seven, Dolly started strumming on a homemade guitar and at age 10, she began performing in local TV shows and radio in Knoxville. To this day, she says her most favorite song is "A Coat of Many Colors," which she wrote and recorded in 1971. The song tells how her mother stitched a colorful coat for her out of rags. "...nothing is as precious as my mama's memory and my coat of many colors that she made for me." In the beginning of her career, Dolly began churning out songs for other country artists such as Hank Williams, Jr. and Kitty Wells. She has composed over 3,000 songs to date and her worth is over $600 million. This is thanks to her early decision to publish her own music, concerts and royalties. She also has "Dollywood Theme Park" in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee which attracts over 2.1 million visitors a year. Dolly has been married to the "mysterious" Carl Dean since 1966. They met at a Nashville laundromat called "The Wishy Washy." "He's very private and I've always respected that for him and about him," she said. However, Dolly shocked her fans when she said she is in an open marriage. She revealed in an interview that she contemplated suicide over a failed love affair. She later took a step back and said there were no sexual relations in her other affairs. There have been rumors for years that Dolly was in a relationship with her assistant and childhood friend Judy Ogle which she has vehemently denied. Dolly is a well-known philanthropist who has donated more than 10 million books annually to improve child literacy through her Dollywood Foundation. Hear the podcast: