It's been a huge year for East Tennessee's Dolly Parton.
She performed in Sevier County last week as part of her first major U.S. and Canadian tour in more than 25 years, to support her Pure and Simple album, which soared to the top of the Billboard country charts.
The sequel to last year's hit NBC movie based on her song Coat of Many Colors, airs next week. She will premiere the new movie, Christmas of Many Colors, Tuesday night at Dollywood.for friend and family, though the public can watch the red carpet arrivals if they are at the park.
Dolly recently sat down with 10News anchor Beth Haynes to talk about all she was thankful for this year.
DOLLY: “It’s been a long time since I’ve had a number 1 album, so I’m real excited about that,” says Dolly Parton. “This day in time and this business and me at my age, I’m still at it and loving it, so it’s good.”
BETH: “I think this album is special. It’s love songs. I know you’ve said that and it falls on a special year for you and your husband, Carl Dean. 50 years of marriage. Tell me about the celebration and how it was different from your actual wedding day.”
Dolly Parton: Through the years
DOLLY: “Well, it was fun. There was less pressure because when we first got married we had to run across the state line to Ringgold, Georgia to get married because Monument Records and Fred Foster had put some money behind me to help me get my career off the ground. We had already planned to be married and planned a wedding in Nashville and he asked me to wait for a year until they got my career off the ground. So, we went that weekend, sneaked off and got married. We didn’t want it in the Tennessee papers, so we went to Ringgold. We had to get our license there. And, I wanted to get married in a church or so I had to track down a minister in Ringgold. He and his wife, my mom and Carl were the only ones there. And, momma had made me a little white dress and a little bible. I didn’t get to have my big wedding gown and all the stuff I wanted to, so this time I got to have all of that. I had a beautiful wedding dress with a veil and Carl was all dressed up. We didn’t have to get a license or anything, but we just did it with no stress, no strain. We got married on our little chapel there on our property. Now I have a beautiful wedding book with all these beautiful pics.
BETH: “Carl Dean seems very simple. Was he ok dressing up?”
DOLLY: “Well, he did it for me. He felt that was a pretty good milestone 50 years, so he was proud of that. He did alright with it. I was actually surprised he was going to be so willing.”
BETH: “I know you do have lots of nieces and nephew and they look to you kind of as a mother figure.”
DOLLY “Well, I love children. And, I guess if God meant for me to have children, I would’ve. But I always felt like everybody’s kids could be mine. And, if I’d had children of my own I would not have done all that I have because I would’ve given myself I’m sure to them. But everything works out the way it’s supposed to. And I don’t regret it. Carl doesn’t regret it. We’re surrounded by kids. We can have kids anytime. They call me Aunt Granny, G.G. or Great Granny, now that the brothers and sisters that used to live with us started having kids. Carl and I feel like grandparents to a lot of these kids. And so, we’ve got kids on his side of the family and on my side of the family, so there’s always children. And, I love being Aunt Dolly. I love not having that full responsibility, but I love that energy of kids and that keeps young, too."
BETH: “Let’s talk about your resurgence, if you will. I thought last year was a great year for you… new tour, album, movie, appearances, a new book, even a children’s album. Did you ever think at 70 you would be doing all this?”
DOLLY: “No, but I hoped I would because I don’t ever want to retire. As long as I can continue working, I will. I think that’s one of the reasons I stay young for my age is because I’m busy. I don’t have time to get old. I always look at it thinking- I’m running out of time. I’ve got so much I want to do. I’m really proud of all I’ve accomplished. And, they say wisdom comes with age and if that’s so I ought to be getting pretty smart right now.”
BETH: “Lets talk about the sequel, Christmas of Many Colors. You and I have talked a lot about the movies. I want to talk about the character that you play specifically. You and I have never had this conversation. Can you tell me her name?
BETHl “Does she know that she inspired your whole look, what you based your career on?”
DOLLY: “I don’t know. She’s probably gone by now. But I never did expose her name, nor would I want any of my family to ever do so. I’ve often said maybe her family didn’t even know she was considered trash. But to me, she was beautiful. She was all that stuff that I was intrigued by- color, paint, yellow hair, big hair, tight clothes, fancy things- jewelry, high heel shoes. I mean, to me she was just breath taking. So, I thought it would be great if I would play that painted lady in the movie. So, I’ve got a small part in it in addition to introducing the movie as myself and voice overs. I actually played the painted lady in the film, the one I patterned my look after when I was a kid. So, it’s kind of a spoof. But I don’t know if she ever knew.”
BETH: "What did your parents think about modeling your look after her?”
DOLLY: “I mean it was not good. My grandpa was a Pentecostal preacher. My grandpa is the one that had more problem with it than anybody because he just thought I was doomed for hell. I think he found out later on that God loved me as much as he did anybody else. I tell that joke about Grandpa saying, ‘Don't you want to go to heaven?’ And I’d say, ‘Yeah, but do I have to look like hell to get there.’ That was kind of my attitude. But, you know, it was innocent and that’s really how I kind of patterned my look after- the town trollop.”
We have a full day of Dolly coverage Tuesday on 10News.
We'll be live on the red carpet for the Christmas of Many Colors premiere at Dollywood starting at 4 pm. on 10News and WBIR.com.
On 10News at 5, we'll delve deeper into Dolly's role in Christmas of Many Colors, where she plays the "town tramp," who is actually the woman who inspired Dolly's over-the-top look.
On 10News at 6, Dolly talks about why she never revealed the name of the woman who inspired her look, and how her family reacted when she used her as an example.
On the Nightbeat at 11, we'll have a full recap of the red carpet premiere of the movie.