HomeEntertainmentDolly Parton Opens Up About Her Acting Career, From ‘9 to 5’ to ‘Hannah Montana’

Dolly Parton Opens Up About Her Acting Career, From ‘9 to 5’ to ‘Hannah Montana’

by Atlanta Northcutt
(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

Dolly Parton explains the story behind her career, her music and her relationship with Miley Cyrus during Hannah Montana.

The Beginning of Dolly Parton

“I just remember thinking I’m doing my first album. This is amazing,” says Dolly Parton during an interview with Vanity Fair. And so, it was a real special time and that really was kind of like when I felt like that I was a real professional, and that I was really in the business, and that I was gonna be doing all right.”

Dolly then became a member of the Porter Wagner show.

“It was really that show that really, really got me over the moon as far as my career,” says Dolly. “That really kinda started it all for me big time.”

“I wanted to be a girl singer that was gonna be my own person, and be a star on my own.” – Dolly Parton

‘Coat of Many Colors’

Dolly Parton wrote “Coat of Many Colors” while on The Porter Wagoner Show. According to Parton, when Porter stopped at the cleaners to get the costumes, she noticed the cleaning tag still on the tag on his suit hanging on the wall, and the song began to come to her.

“I learned so many things that I applied to so many other projects later on down the line ’cause I’ve learned about being a businesswoman, learned about being involved in the production, learned about how you have to kind of stand up for yourself, and not only for yourself, for other people around you,” says Parton. “So it’s all a learning experience. And that was a wonderful time because I was me.”

Dolly Parton Appears on the Big Screen

“‘9 to 5′ was really a joy for me and it was like something I was not expecting,” continues Parton regarding the song and movie. “I had been offered movie roles at different times. I had not been interested in doing the movies ’cause at that time my writing career, my entertaining, I was traveling, touring, I was doing really well with that. And so I didn’t want to kind of get sidetracked just then, but when Jane Fonda came to me and presented this idea to me, I thought, well, how can I not do this?”

While on set, Dolly said she would watch the actresses interact and perform on film, and she began to create the famous song.

Dollywood Opening

Dollywood opened in 1996 in Nashville.

“I’d been dreaming about that long before. I used to think, early on in my career, if I ever get to be the star I want to be, I want to do something great for my people back home,” says Dolly. I love the Smoky Mountains and my family, but wanted to do more.”

Steel Magnolias

Steel Magnolias‘ producer Ray Stark wanted Parton to be in the film.

“And so, I guess he had seen me around, and I was kind of making a name for myself, and I’d been in, you know, a few things before, 9 to 5 and Best Little Whorehouse,” says Dolly, “And so anyhow, I thought this was the perfect role for me because if I had not made it in the business, I would have been a beautician because I would have had to have got discount prices on makeup and hair color and bleach, and all of that. So I understood ’cause I used to always do my mama’s hair cause I have a very creative too. I’m good with my hands. So I’d do good hair. So I felt like Truvy.”

On the ‘Hannah Montana’ Set with Miley Cyrus

Dolly was on the Disney Channel show “Hannah Montana”, with Parton’s goddaughter, Miley Cyrus, leading the show.

“Well, when Hannah Montana came on the air, and little Miley Cyrus, my little goddaughter, was the star of it. I was so proud of her. I thought she was sensational. What a great little comedian she is and what a great little actress,” she says. “And of course, she’s a great singer, but she was so perfect in that spot. And she told them that, you know, she said,’ I want my aunt Dolly on here. She calls me aunt Dolly.”

Parton was written into several episodes of “Hannah Montana.”

“Thanks to her I had a whole new following of people that were turned on to me, these young little kids, you know, that were her fans and kids that were fans of just the whole show and the other little artists on the show,” says Parton.

“But here I am, you know, Miley’s fairy godmother,” jokes Dolly. “And I really loved the time that we spent with her doing the show. And for me, watching her being such a pro, she didn’t know it but I was watching her like a proud mama thinking you go you little thing. I’m so proud of you. And I’ve always been proud of Miley.”