‘Happy Days’ Icon Henry Winkler Solves a Dolly Parton Mystery on Social Media

by Suzanne Halliburton
Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

There was a bit of a social media mystery unfolding Wednesday night. Who was the guy next to Dolly Parton on a quilt panel? Happy Days icon Henry Winkler helped identify the guy.

Actor Michael McKean first posed the question on Twitter, asking his almost 400,000 followers:

“This is on a Dolly Parton quilt, the only square with another person pictured. Who do we think it is?”

Winkler, the iconic Fonzie on Happy Days, helped solve who was on the quilt and standing to the left of Dolly Parton in the vintage photo.

Answer: “That is Sandy Gallin . He was Dolly’s manager and long time friend.”

We All Adore Dolly Parton. But Who Is Sandy Gallin?

Outsiders love Dolly Parton, but you may not know all the career details about the country superstar. So maybe you don’t recognize Gallin’s name. Those entrenched in Hollywood, folks like Winkler, know who the guy was.

Parton and Gallin were like peas and carrots for a quarter-century. Dolly first met him in 1976. Mac Davis, the country star, suggested the two meet. She’d just made an appearance on Davis’ show and Davis knew Parton wanted to broaden her audience beyond her country fan base. At the time, Gallin also managed the careers of Cher and Joan Rivers.

In 1977, Gallin suggested that Dolly Parton record the song “Here You Come Again.” It proved to be Dolly’s first crossover hit. The song led Billboard Hot Country Singles for five weeks. It also zoomed to No. 3 on the pop chart. The song sold more than 1 million copies and earned Parton her first Grammy for best female country vocalist. Nice advice, Mr. Gallin.

Remember when we said that guys like Henry Winkler would recognize Hollywood bigwigs, especially ones on a quilt? He helped Dolly Parton to mass success. But take a look at some of his other clients. He helped with the careers of Michael Jackson, Barbra Streisand, Mariah Carey, Nicole Kidman, Lily Tomlin and Whoopi Goldberg. He also directed the projects done by Donny and Marie Osmond and The Pointer Sisters.

Production Company Won Oscar For Documentary About a Quilt

So how is he on a Dolly Parton quilt? We’re not sure. But Parton and Gallin formed a film company in 1985. It was called Sandollar Productions. The company won an Academy Award for producing the best documentary in 1990. It was called “Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt.” The documentary told the story of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. Dustin Hoffman narrated it.

Gallin died in 2017. In writing Gallin’s obituary, the Associated Press used the photo McKean first tweeted and Winkler answered Wednesday night. If you’re curious, the photo was from Sept. 22, 1983. It’s cutline: “Dolly Parton sings at the piano with her manager, Sandy Gallin, left, in her apartment.”

That’s how it should be. Thank you Sandy Gallin for helping craft the career of Dolly Parton.