CBS 42 had the opportunity to sit down with Dolly Parton and see what’s just beyond the horizon for her. We also turned back time to hear more about her journey to success and what drives her super successful philanthropy, Imagination Station.

Dolly Parton is a genuine southern lady, who loves country music, adores her fans, and is quite business savvy. Most of all, Parton has the biggest heart and as she says she wants to “leave something good in every day.” 

Watch the video above to see our full interview with Dolly Parton. 


Ashley: Being from Birmingham, what are your memories of not just the state Alabama but also the band Alabama? 
Dolly: First of all, I am really good friends with the group Alabama. Alabama is a great state for me because my sister Kathy married an Alabama boy. And all here kids were born there. Actually, her first son was born there. I spent lots of time visiting them in Alabama and my husband and I love Huntsville. So, we drive there all the time, at least once a year we make our way down there…you’re from Birmingham, I love Birmingham too, I’ve been there several times. 

Ashley: Are there any projects you’re working on right now? And what’s ahead for Dolly?

Dolly: After all these years. We’re talking about doing a sequel finally after all these years of 9 to 5 with Jane Fonda and Lilly Tomlin and I. Another comedy based on some of the issues still in the workplace.

Dolly: And there is a movie called “dumplin'”. A country way of saying dumplings. It’s about a little girl who is overweight and she wants to be a beauty queen and her mother who is Jennifer Anniston is producing the moving and staring in it as her mother. the little girl was a big Dolly fan. And so she built her confidence by listening to my music and my little sayings. So, they asked me to write some music. In addition to what the girl had loved in the movie So, I did. We’ll have a soundtrack coming out with some of the old things and some of the new things I’ve written.

Ashley: Will Dolly be making an appearance in the movie?

Dolly: No I didn’t want to be in the movie, that’ll be too self-serving. They asked me to be, but I said “No I was too embarrassed” It’s so much about me in it. It didn’t seem right for me to be in it somehow. 

Ashley: We’re sitting in a room that shows off your success. Tell me, what does success mean to you and what made you so successful? 
Dolly: I’d say work your butt off. That’s the best thing to do. Actually, I’ve been very lucky in my life. I’ve worked very hard. I have a great work ethic, like my dad I’ve worked really hard. I got my talent, my spirituality, my creativity from my mom’s people, but my dad was the center, he was the one who had good direction, he’s the one who had the good sense, he was the one who was like keep your nose to grindstone kind of thing. And you’re not going to get it if you don’t work for it. That sticktoitivness. And so I really think that everybody that’s got a gift or a dream, I’ve always said dreams can just lay there, they are more like wishes than dreams. If you’ve got a dream, you’ve got to work it, you’ve got to put wings on it, gotta put legs on it, put arms on it whatever you’ve got to do. Stick with it and be willing to sacrifice if you have to.  

Ashley: You hit another big milestone this year. You have given out 100 Million books for Imagination Library. Tell me about that and why you’re so passionate about literacy?
Dolly: …100 million books. yeah…We’ve given in the 23 years since we’ve had the program…They put the little coat of many colors book in the Library of Congress to commemorate that occasion. That will always be there. That little book, that song, you know Coat of many colors, well we made it into a book. It’s it in the Imagination Library. As the kids get as a part of their program. It will be there forever. The fact that My dad inspired the whole program when I was writing. He helped me get the imagination library going. He lived long enough to see it doing good. So when, I was at the Library of Congress reading this look about mama, and the whole idea about my dad being proud because he couldn’t read or write, he was so proud of me for that and for him to get to share a little bit about that with me was great.  The main thing is the wonderful people that make all of this possible and the community that works to get books in the hands of children around the world now. 

Ashley: There is a special box located at Dollywood resort that holds a secret song to be released on your 100th birthday. Can give us a little insight on what’s in that song?
Dolly Parton: It’s a little message. I’ve left a message. There’s some things in there that we’re using now, but I have no idea how they’re going to play it when they open it in 30 years from now. I don’t know if I’ll be able to sing. Bob Hope and George burns, Look Betty White is up in her 90s and still working. It’s possible, not likely but it’s possible. It’s a song that I wrote that people will get a little insight on who I was and what I was hoping for the future.