Country Throwback: Dolly Parton, Sally Field, and ‘Steel Magnolias’ Cast Answer Fan Questions in 1989

by Keeli Parkey
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To say that “Steel Magnolias” is a beloved film would be an understatement. It has everything – comedy and laughs, drama and tears, and an armadillo cake. Bringing those laughs and tears to life are Dolly Parton, Sally Field, Julia Roberts, Shirley MacLaine, Olympia Dukakis, and Daryl Hannah.

For fans of the 1989 movie, a cast interview on Donahue from the same offers a look into the filmmaking process and how the famous actresses related to one another on set. Parton, Field, Roberts, MacLaine and Dukakis all appear on the talk show and field questions from the host as well as the audience.

Dolly Parton, Cast Take Questions from Donahue Audience

A young man in the audience was thrilled to meet Dolly Parton. He asked her what she up to and said he had “always wanted to meet” her.

“Well, I’m on the road and on tour now,” Dolly Parton responded. “I have a new group together called the Mighty Fine Band and we’ve been traveling around all summer. Well, actually ever since we finished the movie. I went home and put together a group and worked on a new album, which is out now – White Limousine, it’s doing real well. So, I’m just out there hoofin’ it. Enjoy. Thanks for the compliment.”

Parton was also asked if she wrote any songs for “Steel Magnolias.”

“Well, I did write some things,” Parton said. “But, it didn’t make the movie. Only because it seemed like it would be too much Dolly Parton …”

One audience member was impressed with Field’s ability to cry on cue. “… You are the best crier I have ever seen,” the woman asks Field. “How do you do that so easy?”

Field seems shocked by the compliment. “I am?” she asks at the start of her response. “I like the way other people cry better. I have to work so hard at it. It’s hard. When there’s a crying scene I worry about it, but thank you.”

MacLaine said Field continued to cry and perform while the other actresses were filming their closeups of the famous funeral scene. “Not only was she incredible in her own scene, but she did it full out for the rest of us when she wasn’t even on camera,” MacLaine said. “It was the most generous thing I ever saw an actress do.”

Filming “Steel Magnolias” allowed the cast to bond and develop friendships.

“It’s just a really special, special experience,” Field said. “… getting to be around these women and I know that we’ve made friendships and relationships that will last. It was just a really remarkable time.”

You can watch the amazing “Steel Magnolias” cast, including Dolly Parton, on Donahue below.

Steel Magnolias Actress Dies

Carol Sutton, who was known for her role in “Steel Magnolias,” died in December due to COVID-19. According to Entertainment Tonight, the New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell confirmed the news in a statement.

In addition to appearing in “Steel Magnolias,” Sutton appeared in many other films and television shows. These included “The Help,” “Going to California,” “Treme,” “American Horror Story,” “True Detective,” “Lovecraft Country,” and “Queen Sugar.”

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