April 27

Meet Dolly Parton Siblings Inside Their Big Family Filled With Passion For Music

She may be one of the most celebrated personalities in the industry, but you should never leave the rest of Dolly Parton siblings unnoticed – a lot of them have actually shown beyond doubt that they’re as talented as she is. While some of them followed Dolly’s musical footsteps, others pursued different paths. Still, all of them conquered whatever challenges thrown their way just to become an unforgettable family name.

Born to Robert and Avie Lee Parton, Dolly and her eleven siblings grew up in Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains in extreme poverty. They live in a small cabin with only one bedroom, no electricity, and no indoor plumbing – but it was a home filled with love and passion for music.

Let’s get to know more about them! Here are Dolly Parton‘s siblings in order of birth. 

Willadeene Parton

The eldest among twelve children. Dolly’s website said Willadeene Parton acted as her younger sibling’s second mother. She would apply perfume to the girls before she would go out, and that has become one of their fondest memories of her.

She also tried her luck in the entertainment industry, starting out as one of the members of the gospel singing trio along with sisters Cassie and Stella. However, she eventually took another creative means to her career. She contributed to the family’s empire through books, writing two family memoirs ‘In the Shadow of a Song: The Parton Family’ and ‘Smoky Mountain Memories: Stories from the Hearts of the Parton Family’ – giving fans a closer look to the Partons’ life in rural Tennessee.

She has also published a cookbook under her name, titled All-Day Singing and Dinner on the Ground, which is a collection of the recipes and memories Willadeene and her siblings experienced growing up in the Smoky Mountains.

Stella Mae Parton

Stella Parton is the family’s firecracker. Just like Dolly, she got into the music industry at an early age – making her debut on the radio when she was only nine and was touring all over Tennessee with her sisters Cassie and Willadeene.

While the gospel singing trio didn’t become popular, it was a break for Stella, who went on pursuing her own career as a solo country artist. Her single “I Want to Hold You in My Dreams Tonight” – which she produced by herself – got into the Top Ten country hit. Her success led to a major label deal and the release of more than thirty albums to date.

Stella also starred in a number of television shows in the 1970s – as well as on Dolly’s 2015 television movie Coat of Many Colors. She has also authored a few books – including her memoir ‘Tell It Sister, Tell It: Memories, Music and Miracles,’ and three cookbooks. 

In 2018, she took her kitchen skills to the BBC series Celebrity MasterChef.

Cassie Nan Parton

Though Cassie never had a solo career, she toyed with the idea of pursuing a career as a singer as well. In addition to being the third member of the gospel trio, she was also remembered for her performance on the Porter Wagoner Show in 1970 as well as on the 2013 ‘My People show’ at Dollywood.

Today, Cassie dedicates her life as a wife and mother.

Randel Huston “Randy” Parton

Dolly opened up that among the most special gifts she ever gained was her younger brother, Randy Parton. The country singer could still recall how she and her siblings have always wanted one of those dolls they found in a shopping catalog that could talk, walk, cry and that you could feed and change its diaper.

And when they welcomed Randy into the world, their mother told them that they finally now have a walking, talking doll. Dolly remembered how she and her siblings had taken care of Randy, rocking him whenever he cried and changing his diaper. The singer immortalized that special moment in the song “You Are My Christmas,” which she actually sang with Randy.

Randy was also a musician in his own right. He had several country singles in the 1970s and 1980s, including a song he recorded for the soundtrack of Dolly’s 1984 film ‘Rhinestone.’ He was also part of Dolly’s band, playing bass and guitar for his sister.

Unfortunately, Randy died in January 2021 after battling with cancer.

Larry Gerald Parton

Sadly, Larry died just four days after he was born. Dolly bravely spoke up about the heartbreaking story, revealing that the loss hit her really hard. The country singer recalled how her mother would assign them special roles of taking care of one particular sibling since there were so many of them. 

And it was Larry for Dolly! The singer made sure to never miss a segment about Larry’s short-lived life in her biographical film ‘A Coat of Many Colors.’ In it, you’ll see the nine-year-old version of Dolly singing by the grave of her dead brother.

Floyd Estel Parton

Dolly’s youngest brother, Floyd, has been the country superstar’s longtime songwriting partner. One of the popular songs he wrote is the 1991 hit “Rockin’ Years” from the album Eagle When She Flies.

Unfortunately, Floyd died in 2018 at the age of 61, but his contribution to the Parton legacy will never be forgotten.

Freida Estelle Parton

Though Freida can no longer be seen performing on stage nowadays, she was actually a part of a 1980s punk band. Her voice can also be heard on the background vocals on some of Dolly’s albums.

Today, Freida is now serving as an ordained minister and has since launched her own wedding chapel in Sevierville.

Rachel Ann Parton

Freida’s twin, Rachel, was perhaps the wildest among the bunch. She moved to Nashville to live with Dolly when she was only thirteen and started pursuing a career in music – surprising people with her hard rock sound.

Rachel was also known for posing in the men’s magazine, Playboy. 

She has been married three times – marriages that all led to divorce. And in 1986, she filed for bankruptcy. She was then able to rebuild her life by performing at Dollywood.

Nevertheless, Rachel achieves much better success as an actress after playing the role of Doralee Rhodes Brooks on the popular TV series, ‘Nine to Five’ – from 1982 to 1988.

Bobby Lee, David Wilburn, and Coy Denver Parton

However, there isn’t much to be said about Dolly’s three brothers: Bobby Lee, David Wilburn, and Coy Denver. Unlike their famous siblings, the three of them all lead private lives, away from the spotlight.

Well, you could really say that Dolly Parton siblings indeed have a colorful life, having their own unique way of becoming an unforgettable name.


Tags

Bobby Lee Parton, Cassie Nan Parton, Coy Denver Parton, David Wilburn Parton, Dolly Parton, Floyd Estel Parton, Freida Estelle Parton, Larry Gerald Parton, Rachel Ann Parton, Randy Parton, Stella Parton, Willadeene Parton


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