Grammy Award-winning country star Dolly Parton, 69, has turned her 1971 best-selling, biographical song “Coat of Many Colors” into a movie, which aired on NBC Dec. 10. She hopes this story about how a patchwork coat her mom made helped her become the woman she is today will resonate with audiences.
Of all the many stories in your life, why tell this one?
This story’s always meant the world to me. I was trying to think of what people would like to see, and I thought, “They’d like to see a little more about the people who made you who and what you are.” So the “Coat of Many Colors” was a perfect vehicle. It’s like my life story summed up.
Was there a real coat of many colors? And if so, what happened to it?
Absolutely there was a coat of many colors. I even had a school picture in it. But you don’t think you’re going to be a star, so Mama tore that down, I’m sure, and sewed it into a quilt or blanket or something else.
Actress Alyvia Alyn Lind is playing 9-year-old Dolly. Will you be acting in the movie?
I’m doing voice-overs and sing-overs. I’ll introduce the show as myself, and then come back at the end, but I’m actually not in the movie.
With your music career, Dollywood and now this TV movie, how do you find time for a personal life?
Carl [Dean, her husband] loves being home. I love being gone. That’s why we’re married for 50 years! Actually, he’s very proud of me. He’s always given me the freedom to work. That’s one of the reasons I think I’ve been successful. He’s never been threatened by that, nor did he ever want to be any more of a part of it than he is.
Do you have any plans to retire?
I always say I hope I die right in the middle of a song. Hopefully, one I wrote, and 30 years from now! I love what I do. I have no plans to retire.
How do you get ready for the holidays? Any fun family traditions you care to share?
Cookie night! I love all holidays, but Christmas cookie night has been a family tradition for years. I have all my nieces and nephews and their kids over, and we make all different kinds of decorated sugar cookies. I think more ingredients end up on the floor than in the cookies, but it’s all part of the fun. I usually find sprinkles in my hair until Valentine’s Day.