Dolly Parton is one of the country music's biggest icons. From hit songs to a signature look, she has it all. Wonderwall.com is counting down the many reasons we love Dolly — who celebrates her 73rd birthday on Jan. 19, 2019 — starting with her impressive EGOT nomination status. The music legend is one of very few celebs to have received at least one nod for an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony Award. Keep reading for more reasons we love Dolly…
RELATED: Dolly Parton's life in pictures
2. She has her own amusement park
In 1986, Dolly Parton co-founded her own amusement park, Dollywood, in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. The theme park has since grown to include Dolly Parton's Stampede, a dinner theater, Dollywood's Splash Country, a waterpark, and the DreamMore Resort and Spa. Dollywood is currently ranked as the 24th most popular theme park in the United States, with more than 3 million visitors per year.
RELATED: Country music's biggest scandals
3. She's the creative mind behind "I Will Always Love You"
Fans might be more familiar with Whitney Houston's version of "I Will Always Love You," but the song was originally written and recorded by Dolly Parton in 1973. The hit track was released in 1974 and reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart twice.
RELATED: Best movies about country music
4. She's got business savvy
Back when Dolly Parton first recorded "I Will Always Love You," Elvis Presley expressed interest in covering the song. Initially, Dolly was thrilled, but when Elvis said he wanted half of the publishing rights, she turned him down. "I was so excited," Dolly told CMT. "[But] I said, 'I can't do that.' Something in my heart says, 'Don't do that.' And I just didn't do it, and they just didn't do it. But I always wondered what it would sound like. I know he'd kill it. Don't you? He would have killed it. But anyway, so he didn't." Dolly kept 100 percent of the publishing rights, which made her major money when Whitney Houston's version hit No. 1 in 1992 and sold millions of copies.
5. She has a long-lasting marriage
Dolly Parton has pulled off a rare feat in Hollywood: She's been married for 52 years! The singer-actress and her hubby, Carl Dean, tied the knot on May 30, 1966. Carl avoids the spotlight and is rarely photographed (he's seen here in 2017 stepping out with his wife in Beverly Hills), but that hasn't stopped their love. "We're really proud of our marriage. It's the first for both of us. And the last," Dolly told the Toronto Sun.
6. She's open about her plastic surgery and looks
Unlike many Hollywood celebrities, Dolly Parton is 100 percent transparent about her plastic surgery and changing looks, once joking, "It takes a lot of money to look this cheap." She has admitted to multiple cosmetic surgery procedures and believes that they are necessary to keep up with her famous image. "People always ask me if they're mine. Yes, they are — all bought and paid for," she told "Today" of her famous bust. "If I see something sagging, bagging or dragging, I'll get it nipped, tucked or sucked."
7. She cares about literacy
Dolly Parton might be a privileged superstar, but that doesn't mean she doesn't know how to give back. The singer founded the Dollywood Foundation in 1986 with the initial intention of raising scholarship funds for local high school students. The organization has since grown to include Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, a literacy program that mails one book a month to each enrolled child from the time of their birth until kindergarten. Currently, almost 850,000 children are helped each month across the United States, Canada, Britain and Australia.
8. Her collaboration with Burt Reynolds
Dolly Parton and the late Burt Reynolds might not have gotten along on set, but they truly made magic together onscreen in 1982's "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas." In fact, their chemistry was so strong that fans speculated the two were having an affair. Dolly later denied the claims, explaining in her 2017 autobiography, "Dolly on Dolly," that working with Burt was a "nightmare." Nevertheless, "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" was a huge success that earned Dolly a Golden Globe nomination for best actress.
9. She's iconic
Dolly Parton is truly a country music icon. The singer-songwriter has had hits in every decade since the 1960s and 25 of her songs have reached No. 1 on the Billboard country music charts, a record for a female artist. Dolly has 41 career top 10 country albums, a record for any artist, 25 RIAA-certified gold, platinum and multi-platinum awards, and 110 career charted singles over the past 40 years. She's also earned nine Grammys, two Academy Award nominations, 10 Country Music Association Awards, seven Academy of Country Music Awards and three American Music Awards. Legendary!
10. She starred in one of the best chick flicks of all time
Dolly Parton not only starred in one of the best chick flicks of all time but wrote and recorded its iconic theme song. In 1980, Dolly played Doralee Rhodes opposite Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda in "9 to 5." The movie was a huge hit, grossing over $103 million at the box office. The title track was later nominated for one Academy Award and four Grammys, winning two. "9 to 5" was eventually adapted into a TV series, which ran for five seasons, and a Broadway musical, for which Dolly wrote new songs.
11. She's devoted to her family
Dolly Parton was born in rural Tennessee in a one-room cabin and was the fourth of 12 children. Both her parents were around, but often away, leaving Dolly to help raise some of her younger siblings. "This is the stuff I'm leaving for my family when I'm dead and gone. That money goes in for stuff for my brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews," she told CMT of her work. Today, her nieces and nephews often refer to her as "Aunt Granny," a nickname that became the moniker of one of her Dollywood restaurants. (Speaking of family, Dolly is godmother to another famous Tennessee native: pop star Miley Cyrus.)
12. She's laugh-out-loud funny
One the things we love most about Dolly Parton is her sense of humor. The Tennessee native knows how to crack a joke and constantly keeps us in stitches. One of our favorite Dolly jokes? When asked about her lean figure, Dolly once said, "I've tried every diet in the book. I tried some that weren't in the book. I tried eating the book. It tasted better than most of the diets." Aha!
13. She gives back to her community
After wildfires ravaged the Great Smoky Mountains region of Tennessee in 2016, Dolly made it her mission to give back to the community that raised her. She participated in a telethon to raise money for the victims and hosted a telethon of her own, raising over $9 million. She pledged $1,000 a month for five months to every family that lost its primary residence in the blaze then gave the nearly 900 families another $5,000 each and pledged $3 million to help them for three years after the fire too. Incredible.
14. She's a go-getter
Dolly Parton started playing guitar when she was only 7 years old and by 13, she had written and recorded her first song. Determined to make it in showbiz, Dolly moved to Nashville the day after she graduated from high school in 1964. The rest, as they say, is history.
15. She embraces her own unique sense of style
Dolly Parton is well-known for her show-stopping outfits, blonde hair and over-the-top makeup looks. While many have critiqued her choices over the years, Dolly has embraced her unique style. "A lot of people have said I'd have probably done better in my career if I hadn't looked so cheap and gaudy," she told "Today." "But I dress to be comfortable for me, and you shouldn't be blamed because you want to look pretty." She continued, "I'm not trying to be fashionable. Never was!"
16. She blew us away in "Steel Magnolias"
Dolly Parton brought her A-game while starring opposite Julia Roberts and Sally Field in 1989's "Steel Magnolias." The drama about a group of women in a small Southern town was powerful yet sweet, leaving a lasting impact on women everywhere. "Steel Magnolias" racked up more than $95 million at the box office.
17. She's a hard worker
Dolly Parton might be in her 70s now, but she has no plans to retire anytime soon. In 2018, the singer recorded the entire soundtrack — writing six new songs to go along with six old ones — for the Jennifer Aniston- Netflix film "Dumplin'." The album's lead single, "Girl in the Movies," received Golden Globe and Critics' Choice nominations for best original song and is on the shortlist for an Academy Award nomination.
19. She embraces the new
Dolly Parton doesn't shy away from new technology and entertainment mediums. In 2018, the music legend announced an eight-part television series that will air on the streaming service Netflix. Dolly will not only be co-starring in the project but also executive producing, writing and singing on the show as well. "As a songwriter, I have always enjoyed telling stories through my music. I am thrilled to be bringing some of my favorite songs to life with @Netflix. We hope our show will inspire and entertain families and folks of all generations," she tweeted.
19. Her songs are so relatable
One of the many reasons people have embraced Dolly Parton is because she writes and performs super-relatable songs. One of her biggest hits, "Jolene," tells a story that many women have experienced in real life. The song centers on a woman confronting Jolene, a stunningly beautiful woman, whom she believes is trying to steal away her partner. The 1973 single earned Dolly two Grammy nominations and was ranked by Rolling Stone as one of the 500 greatest songs of all time.
20. She's a trailblazer
Dolly Parton knows how to make her mark. In an industry dominated by men, Dolly is one of only only seven female artists who've won the Country Music Association Awards' entertainer of the year prize. Speaking about her experience being a women in country music, Dolly told the Mail on Sunday's Event magazine, "I've built my own business and never had to do anything I didn't want to do." Girl power!