Dolly Parton in her own words

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The veteran singer may be celebrating her 66th birthday but she's showing no signs of letting up - and has just released a new film.

One of 12 children born into a "dirt poor" but loving family in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, Dolly's 57-year career has earned her hundreds of millions of dollars and a loyal fanbase the world over. Possessing quick wit, strength and self-awareness, she revels in her image as a silicone-enhanced ditzy blonde, once reminding her public, "It costs a lot to make a person look this cheap."

As well as writing over 3,000 songs, including hits like Nine to Five, Jolene, Islands in the Stream and I Will Always Love You, Dolly has also made her mark in the movies, with her latest big screen offering, Joyful Noise, just released in the US and expected in the UK later this year.

She's a woman with a lot to say - click into the gallery below to see some of her most poignant, amusing and perceptive sayings, song lyrics and movie quotes and let us know what you like best about Dolly on Twitter.

Words: Anna Pollitt

Picture credits: Rex Features

  • Dolly Parton in her own words

    "Everybody always wants to know, “How long does it take to do your hair?” How should I know? I’m never there."

    Picture: Sporting one of her many wigs in 1987

  • Dolly Parton in her own words

    "If you talk bad about country music, it's like saying bad things about my momma. Them's fightin' words."

    Picture: Embracing her country roots in 1984

  • Dolly Parton in her own words

    "I was the ultimate nightmare for a fundamentalist Christian out to save souls. I was a kid with her own opinions."

    Picture: Fresh-faced, in the 60s

  • Dolly Parton in her own words

    "I'm not going to limit myself just because people won't accept the fact that I can do something else."

    Picture: Dolly taking co-star Dabney Coleman to task in Nine to Five

  • Dolly Parton in her own words

    "When I'm inspired, I get excited because I can't wait to see what I'll come up with next."

    Picture: Dolly onstage in 1983

  • Dolly Parton in her own words

    ""I'll be this way when I'm eighty, like Mae West. I may be on crutches, in a wheelchair or propped up on some old slantboard, but I'll have my high heels, my nails and makeup on, my hair'll be all poufed up and my boob'll still be hangin' out."

    Speaking to Ladies' Home Journal

    Picture: Dolly in 2004

  • Dolly Parton in her own words

    "The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain."

    Picture: Performing in the early 70s

  • Dolly Parton in her own words

    "Islands in the stream

    That is what we are

    No one in between

    How can we be wrong?

    Sail away with me to another world

    And we rely on each other, ah-ah

    From one lover to another, ah-ah"

    Picture: Dolly in 1983, the year she released Islands in the Stream

  • Dolly Parton in her own words

    Speaking about her "honourary" goddaughter Miley Cyrus:

    "I really know she has everything it takes. She is just trying to find her way and she will."

    Speaking to Fox News

    Picture: Miley and Dolly in 2006

  • Dolly Parton in her own words

    "I'm not offended by all the dumb blonde jokes because I know I'm not dumb... and I also know that I'm not blonde."

    Picture: Dolly in 1979

  • Dolly Parton in her own words

    '''"I patterned myself after this woman that was the town tramp back home. She had blonde hair and high heels and red fingernails and lips, and to me she was like what movie stars were to other kids.

    We'd see her, and I'd say, "Oh, look, she's got plastic goldfish in her heels!" and my mama would say, "She ain't nothin' but trash, nothin' but trash," and I thought, "Ooh, that's what I'm gonna be when I grow up - trash!"'''

    Picture: Dolly films a music video from her 'Backwoods Barbie' album in 2009

  • Dolly Parton in her own words

    "I'm old enough and cranky enough now that if someone tried to tell me what to do, I'd tell them where to put it."

    Picture: Dolly in 2011

  • Dolly Parton in her own words

    "My coat of many colours

    That my momma made for me

    Made only from rags

    But I wore it so proudly

    Although we had no money

    I was rich as I could be

    In my coat of many colors

    My momma made for me'''

    Lyrics from 1971 hit Coat of Many Colors, which she described as her favourite song of all the ones she's written

    Picture: Dolly in the 70s

  • Dolly Parton in her own words

    "I look just like the girls next door... if you happen to live next door to an amusement park."

    Picture: Dolly in 1978

  • Dolly Parton in her own words

    "I hope to die right in the middle of a song and right on the stage doing what I love to do. I hope to be about 120 when that happens."

    Picture: Queen Latifah and Dolly on stage in 2012 promoting their new movie Joyful Noise - a tale of two divas forced to work together in the Divinity Church Choir to win the National Joyful Noise Competition.

  • Dolly Parton in her own words

    "The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorise."

    As Truvy Jones in 1989 movie Steel Magnolias

    Picture: Dolly with co-star Olympia Dukakis

  • Dolly Parton in her own words

    "I'm purring like a kitten

    When he's out in public with me

    But when they turn out the lights

    He brings out the tiger in me"

    Lyrics from Dolly's 1996 single Behind Closed Doors

    Picture: With a furry friend in the 70s

  • Dolly Parton in her own words

    "If I see something saggin', baggin' or dragin', I'm gonna have it nipped, tucked or sucked."

    Picture: Dolly working it in 2011

  • Dolly Parton in her own words

    "If you don't like the road you're walking, start paving another one."

    Picture: Dolly in the 70s

  • Dolly Parton in her own words

    "Tumble outta bed and I stumble to the kitchen

    Pour myself a cup of ambition

    Yawnin', stretchin', try to come to life

    Jump in the shower and the blood starts pumpin'

    Out on the streets the traffic starts jumpin'

    And folks like me on the job from nine to five"

    Lyrics Dolly wrote and performed in the 1980 comedy film Nine to Five, which she also starred in

    Picture: With co-stars Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda

  • Dolly Parton in her own words

    "I hope people see the brain underneath the wig and the heart beneath the boobs."

    Picture: Dolly in 1979

  • Dolly Parton in her own words

    "Well, I always just thought if you see somebody without a smile, give 'em yours!"

    Dolly Parton's character Mona Stangley in 1982 film The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas

  • Dolly Parton in her own words

    "The magic is inside you. There ain’t no crystal ball."

    Lyrics from 2002 single These Old Bones

  • Dolly Parton in her own words

    "There I was, just my guitar and me. It was the second of these that got me into trouble."

    Picture: Dolly in 1976

  • Dolly Parton in her own words

    The world's first cloned animal, Dolly the Sheep, was named after the singer because it was duplicated from a cell taken from an adult ewe’s mammary gland.

    When asked if she minded, Dolly replied, "No, there's no such thing as baa-ad publicity."

    Picture: Dolly the Sheep

  • Dolly Parton in her own words

    "If I should stay

    Well, I would only be in your way

    And so I'll go, and yet I know

    That I'll think of you each step of my way

    And I will always love you

    I will always love you"

    Lyrics from Dolly's 1973 song I Will Always Love You, which she wrote about the break up of her seven-year long musical partnership with Porter Wagoner, who helped her rise to fame.

    Dolly famously refused to sign over half the publishing rights of the song to Elvis Presley - a decision that made her millions.

    Picture: Dolly with Porter in 1970

  • Dolly Parton in her own words

    "My husband likes me to look this way, and he's the one I want to please."

    Speaking to The Daily Mail

    She has been married to her publicity-shy husband Carl Dean for 46 years - they met at the Wishy-Washy laundromat on her first day in Nashville when he told her, "Y'all gonna get sunburnt out there, little lady."

    Picture: Dolly in the 70s

  • Dolly Parton in her own words

    "My weaknesses have always been food and men - in that order."

    Picture: Dolly and a friend in 1980

  • Dolly Parton in her own words

    "I still close my eyes and go home - I can always draw from that."

    Picture: Performing in 1983

  • Dolly Parton in her own words

    "If somebody asks me point-blank, 'Have you had plastic surgery?' it's like, well, duh."

    Picture: Dolly in 2012

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Stylist Team