Dolly Rebecca Parton (born January 19, 1946) is an American singer-songwriter, author, multi-instrumentalist, actress and philanthropist, best known for her work in country music. She starred in the movies 9 to 5, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Steel Magnolias and Straight Talk. She is one of the most successful female country artists of all time; with an estimated 100 million in album sales, Dolly is also one of the best selling artists of all time. She is known as "The Queen of Country Music"
Parton began performing as a child, singing on local radio and television programs in the Eastern Tennessee area. By age nine, she was appearing on The Cas Walker Show on both WIVK Radio and WBIR-TV in Knoxville, Tennessee. At thirteen, she was recording (the single "Puppy Love") on a small Louisiana label, Goldband Records, and appeared at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee. It was at the Opry where she first met Johnny Cash who encouraged her to go where her heart took her, and not to care what others thought. The day after she graduated from high school in 1964, Parton moved to Nashville taking many traditional elements of folklore and popular music from East Tennessee with her.
Parton's initial success came as a songwriter, writing two top ten hits with her uncle Bill Owens: Bill Phillips's "Put it Off Until Tomorrow" and Skeeter Davis' 1967 hit "Fuel to the Flame". She also wrote a minor chart hit for Hank Williams Jr during this period. Parton is one of the most-honored female country performers of all time. The Record Industry Association of America has certified 25 of her single or album releases as either Gold Record, Platinum Record or Multi-Platinum Record. She has had 26 songs reach number one on the Billboard country charts, a record for a female artist. She has 42 career top-10 country albums, a record for any artist, and 110 career-charted singles over the past 40 years. All inclusive sales of singles, albums, collaboration records, compilation usage, and paid digital downloads during Parton's career have reportedly topped 174 million records around the world.
Parton has turned down several offers to pose for Playboy magazine, although she did appear on the cover of Playboy's October 1978 issue wearing a Playboy bunny outfit, complete with ears (the October 1978 Playboy issue also featured Lawrence Grobel's extensive and candid interview with Parton, representing one of her earliest high profile interviews with the mainstream press). The association of breasts with Parton's public image is illustrated in the naming of Dolly the sheep after her, since the sheep was cloned from a cell taken from an adult ewe's mammary gland.