On January 19, 1946, Dolly Rebecca Parton came into this world, growing up in Tennessee as one of twelve children (her mother had them all by 35, can you imagine). Per Wikipedia, she learned to play guitar on one that was homemade, and she sang on local radio until it got her to the Grand Ole Opry at the age of 13 — where, it says, none other than Johnny Cash told her to trust her own instincts when it came to her career. Those instincts led to her pen more than 3,000 songs; learn to play eight instruments; star in movies, one of which she also helped turn into a Broadway musical; open her own theme park; form a production company that would go on to back projects like the Father of the Bride movies and, yes, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series; making a Netflix movie that won her an Emmy last year; champion philanthropy and literacy through her Foundation, which has helped deliver more than 100 million books to children through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library; and donated $1 million to the early development of what would become the freaking MODERNA VACCINE, because — as the world has noted many times since then — of course Dolly Parton would be the ray of hope we all needed.
And after all that, when last year the Tennessee legislature asked to erect a statue of her, she replied, “Given all that is going on in the world, I don’t think putting me on a pedestal is appropriate at this time.” But she deserves one. We love you, Dolly. So everyone, relax into some Jolene and then flip through a slideshow that truly cannot even BEGIN to cover her iconic magnificence, but will do its best to come close.