Dolly Parton’s constant refrain is that despite her wigs, makeup, and cosmetic procedures, she’s as real as it gets on the inside. Many people who meet the musician comment on just how true this is. Her free-flowing kindness and generosity have made her one of the most beloved celebrities. Some of those who have had conversations with Parton also comment on her rejuvenating nature, going so far as to say that she has “healing powers.”
Dolly Parton has an effervescent personality
Parton is known for her music and film career, but also her warmth. She’s quick with a self-deprecating joke, began a foundation to give millions of children free books, and donated $1 million to coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine research. Parton is also known for giving away expensive jewelry to anyone who admires it, at least when she was still wearing real diamonds.
“She used to wear real stuff,” her creative director Steve Summers told W Magazine. “But if someone told Dolly they liked her earrings, she’d take them off and hand them to that person! I’d say, ‘Those were real diamonds!’ And Dolly would shrug. So now we always go for fakes.”
Some people around her say she has ‘healing powers’
In a 1977 Rolling Stone article, per the book Dolly on Dolly: Interviews and Encounters with Dolly Parton, writer Chet Flippo spoke with someone who said Parton’s music “purified the audience. She’s a purifier.”
Parton has this effect in person, too. According to a 1980 interview with Roger Ebert ahead of the release of 9 to 5, Parton broke typical celebrity protocol by showing up to a premiere 14 hours early, taking photographs, and signing autographs for hotel staff. According to Ebert, most people had the same reaction after speaking to her: “Gee, she’s really nice.”
Later, after a long day of interviews, Parton arrived at Ebert’s press table “with such energy and freshness that, a little amazed, we asked her the secret of her energy.”
“I just depend on a lot of prayer and meditation,” she said, per Ebert’s official website. “I believe that without God I am nobody, but that with God, I can do anything.”
In a 2008 update to the story from 1980, Ebert added an anecdote he felt was essential to understanding Parton.
“I had a one-on-one interview with Parton in a hotel suite,” he wrote. “As we spoke, I found myself enveloped by her presence. This had nothing to do with sex appeal. Far from it. It was as if I were being mesmerized by a benevolent power. I left the room in a cloud of good feeling. Next day, [Gene] Siskel and I were sitting next to each other on an airplane. ‘This will sound crazy,’ he said, ‘but when I was interviewing Dolly Parton, I almost felt like she had healing powers.’”
Dolly Parton’s spiritual practice is very important to her
As Parton told Ebert and other journalists, her spirituality is very important to her. Though she does not consider herself a particularly religious person, she practices spirituality daily. This impacts not just her songwriting but the way she views the world in general.
“I really, truly love people,” she told Marie Claire, adding, “I try to find the good in everybody. I try to find the God light in everybody. I’m so happy that I’m touched and moved by so much that goes on in this world that I can actually write about it. It gives me great subject matter as a songwriter. Everything is a song to me. Everybody is a song to me.”
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