‘The Dukes of Hazzard’: Daisy Duke Was Modeled After This Country Icon

by Katie Maloney
(Photo by Fotos International/Courtesy of Getty Images)

Daisy Duke from “The Dukes of Hazzard” quickly became an international icon. But who was the character based on in real-life?

Before Daisy hit the airwaves, no one had ever thought of cut-off jean shorts and crop tops as fashion staples. But Daisy Duke knew how to set trends and soon, women all over the world were adopting the wardrobe for themselves. Daisy Duke seemed to be her own character through and through. But, the creators of “Dukes of Hazzard” actually based Daisy Duke’s character on a real-life country icon. Can you guess who it is? We’ll give you a hint: She’s released 25 number one hits songs and is still going strong today.

If you guessed country music legend Dolly Parton, you’re right! “The Dukes of Hazzard” creators originally imagined Daisy as a spitting image of Dolly. In fact, Daisy was supposed to be an aspiring country singer and a huge fan of Dolly. The creators even wanted actress Catherine Bach to wear go-go boots, a white turtleneck, and a blonde wig. But Bach suggested items from her own wardrobe which included the cut-off jean shorts and crop top. Bach also brought personality to her character so that she wasn’t simply a carbon copy of Dolly Parton.

Catherine Bach Almost Turned Down the Role of Daisy in ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’

Before landing the role of a lifetime, Catherine Bach’s agency actually fired her. They told her that she was “too exotic” looking and that they’d never be able to make money with her. Luckily, her husband at the time, Bob Clark worked as a writer with “The Dukes of Hazzard” creator Gy Waldron. Waldron heard about Bach being fired and called her up. He said that he was developing a new show and couldn’t stop thinking about her for the role of Daisy Duke. He asked Bach to come to L.A. to audition for the part. During an interview in 2019, Bach talked about almost turning down the chance to audition.

“A few weeks later, I was at some little Italian restaurant in Beverly Hills with my girlfriend, who directed my one-act play,” said Bach. “I tell her, ‘I do have this interview that I’m supposed to go, but I’m not. … You know part Daisy Duke for Warner Bros.? They want me to come in, but I know I’m not going to get it.’ She goes, ‘It’s Warner Bros. You never know who you’re going to meet on the way in and on the way out. Just go!’ So I went.”

And she blew “The Dukes of Hazzard” audition out of the water!

“After I did my reading during the audition, there was total silence. I thought, ‘Oh no, they didn’t like what I did.’ Then everyone, we’re talking about 30 people, got up and started clapping,” said Bach. “They just connected with my vision of how this part should be played. Two weeks later I was on a plane to Georgia.”

Catherine Bach as Daisy Duke in “The Dukes of Hazzard”