8 Fun Facts About Dolly Parton You Probably Don’t Know

Dolly Parton posing for a photograph.
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She’s captured all of our hearts and filled our ears with her amazing country music — but how much do you know about our Smoky Mountain hometown hero? Visit My Smokies has dug deep to find some fun facts about Dolly Parton that only the most dedicated fan would know! Check out these 8 interesting facts about the country music legend that you might not know:

burlap sack of oatmeal1. Her parents paid for her birth with a sack of oatmeal.

Dolly Parton has been very open about her family’s background and their struggles with money. She is the fourth of 12 children, and she and her family grew up in a one-bedroom cabin with virtually no electricity and no indoor plumbing. When Dolly was born, her father did not have the money to pay the doctor who delivered her, so he gave him a bag of oatmeal instead.

2. She once lost a Dolly Parton lookalike contest.

Who could look more like Dolly Parton than Dolly Parton? We don’t have the answer to that, but someone does! Dolly once participated in a Dolly Parton lookalike contest and didn’t win. It was a Halloween contest on Santa Monica Boulevard, and all the guys were dressed up like her. She said she over-exaggerated her look a little and walked up on stage, but unfortunately didn’t even come close to winning!

3. The first cloned sheep was named after her.

You probably knew that the first cloned sheep was named Dolly, but did you know it was named after the Dolly Parton? In 1996, scientists created a clone from an adult mammal’s cell and needed a name for it, so they named her after the queen of country! The reasoning behind it is humorous, because scientists said it wasn’t for her talent or groundbreaking career. They revealed that the sheep was derived from a mammary gland cell, and they “couldn’t think of a more impressive pair of glands than Dolly Parton’s.”

4. She’s never ridden any of the rides at Dollywood.

dollywood firechaser express rideThis might seem crazy, but Dolly has actually never ridden the rides at Dollywood! She refuses to try any of the rides, not because they don’t seem fun, but because she has a huge fear of roller coasters! She also said she gets motion sickness, just like her father, and even used to get sick riding a school bus. Dolly even joked that she won’t ride them because she has too much to lose, like her hair!

5. She turned down Elvis.

We know you’ve heard the song “I Will Always Love You,” but did you know that Elvis wanted to record it, and Dolly turned him down? After Dolly came out with “I Will Always Love You,” Elvis Presley’s manager reached out to her in hopes of having Presley cover it. Part of the deal, however, was that Dolly give up half of the publishing rights to the song. Dolly said something in her heart was telling her not to do it, so she turned him down. Instead, Whitney Houston covered the song in 1992.

6. Her hit “Jolene” was written about a banker.

Have you ever wondered who her hit song, “Jolene” was about? We’ve got your answer! Dolly actually wrote the song about a red-headed bank teller. She said the bank teller was showing interest in her husband, and he loved going to the bank because she paid him so much attention. It became a running joke between the couple, and Dolly teased, “You’re spending a lot of time at the bank. I don’t believe we’ve got that kind of money.”

7. She’s been married to Carl Dean since 1966.

Dolly Parton is known for her flirtatious attitude, but she’s actually been married to Carl Dean since 1966. “He knows I’m a flirt and a tease, but it’s harmless,” she said. I’ve never met the man that would take his place.” For their 50th anniversary, the two renewed their vows.

tour bus parked outside building8. She never sleeps in hotels on tour.

With as much as she travels on tour, it’s quite surprising that Dolly doesn’t sleep in hotels. It’s not that she doesn’t like them, she just finds it more convenient to sleep on her tour bus! She hates packing and unpacking all of her clothes and makes the tour bus her home when she’s on the road. “We just pull right up to the stage door, pull on up and do our show, get back on, and I go to bed! And roll over to the next show,” the country singer said.

Now that you know all of these interesting facts about Dolly Parton, it’s time to visit her hometown! Browse all of our great deals on Sevierville cabins and start planning your trip.

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