Country legend Dolly Parton is one of the newest additions to Forbes' list of America's Richest Self-Made Women. The "Coat of Many Colors" singer-songwriter made the magazine's 7th annual list due to her massively successful music, entertainment ventures and her amusement park, Dollywood. Of course, as Forbes' notes, the Tennessee-raised country queen has continued to use her wealth to benefit others.
"In a year when most of the music industry slowed down, the country singer and co-owner of amusement park Dollywood was busier than ever: She wrote a song inspired by her experience during the pandemic, released her first holiday album in 30 years and starred in a Netflix film, Christmas on the Square," Forbes writes. "Arguably her most important contribution: a $1 million donation that helped fund Moderna's coronavirus vaccine research."
Dolly Parton Net Worth
We know Dolly Parton is priceless, but have you ever wondered just how much Dolly Parton is really worth in dollars and cents? Thanks to her decades of hit songs at the top of the Billboard charts and some major business ventures, the Grammy award-winning country singer has become one of the savviest business moguls in country music.
According to Forbes' new list, Parton's current net worth is estimated at $350 million. (Though Bankrate.com estimated it at $500 million.) Sure, that's a massive number, but the Tennessee native has worked her entire life to get where she is today.
Parton's country music career started early. Born Dolly Rebecca Parton in Sevierville, Tenn., she learned to play the guitar as a young child and recorded her first song at the age of 13. Even though her family was "dirt poor," Dolly was determined to make it big. She moved to Nashville shortly after graduating from high school and married Carl Thomas Dean soon after. Parton and Carl Dean are still married to this day.
After finding success on The Porter Wagoner Show, Dolly began releasing a string of successful solo hits, including "Coat of Many Colors," "Jolene" and "My Tennessee Mountain Home." A pivotal moment in her career came in 1974 when she released the now-iconic "I Will Always Love You." The late Whitney Houston later covered the song for the soundtrack of her 1992 film, The Bodyguard. Houston's cover earned the top spot on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Chart upon its release and reemerged in popularity following Whitney's tragic death in 2012. As the original songwriter and owner of the song's publishing rights, Parton has made a huge profit from royalties on the song. Although it would take too long to list them all, some of Parton's other major hits include "Here You Come Again," "Islands in the Stream" with Kenny Rogers, "Why'd You Come In Here," "Mule Skinner Blues" and "Hard Candy Christmas."
As Parton's music career took off, she also began acting. She's most well-known for her appearance in the 1980s 9 to 5, which was also the title of a major hit song for the country star. Other films Parton has appeared in include Steel Magnolias, Rhinestone, Straight Talk, Joyful Noise, and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. She also created and narrated the NBC television movies Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors and Dolly Parton's Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love. She signed a deal with Netflix for eight more made-for-television films to be themed around some of her most famous songs including Dumplin' which was released in 2018 starring Jennifer Aniston.
Another of Parton's biggest sources of income is her Dollywood theme park. Located in Sevier County, just 45 minutes away from Knoxville, Tenn., the park has become a must-visit destination for Dolly fans and adventure seekers. Parton bought the area in 1986 when the park was named Silver Dollar City. Since then, Dollywood has evolved into a destination for all ages that includes stage shows, thrilling roller coasters, and even a museum dedicated to her incredible career. In 2001, Parton opened Dollywood's Splash Country, a 335-acre water park that attracts nearly 3 million guests each season. Dollywood, Splash Country, and the DreamMore Resort have become Sevier County's largest employer and the most popular ticketed attraction in the state of Tennessee and one of the top tourist stops in the United States.
Read More: Dolly Parton's Best Country Songs
When she's not working on her big business ventures, Dolly still takes time to tour America and cities across the globe every few years. Both her 2011 Better Day World Tour and 2016's Pure & Simple Tour raked in millions of dollars and sold hundreds of thousands of tickets.
Although Parton has become a hugely successful star she has never forgotten where she came from. She created the Imagination Library, a program that sends free books to children from birth to the age of 5. In 2016, she also established the My People Fund, which distributed thousands of dollars to those affected by wildfires in Tennessee.
A talented multi-instrumentalist, savvy businesswoman, caring philanthropist, and creative genius, it's no wonder that Dolly Parton is now one of the most wealthy people in country music today.
This post was originally published on July 30, 2018. It was updated on August 6, 2021 to include Parton's inclusion on Forbes' 2021 List of America's Riches Self-Made Women.