Remember When Dolly Parton Made Her Movie Debut?
Dolly Parton is one of the most iconic multi-media personalities of her generation, but she was just a country singer looking to try her hand at something different when she made her motion picture debut on Dec. 19, 1980. The film was 9 to 5, and it would launch Parton into a new stratosphere of superstardom.
Parton was already a veteran country star with a TV career and more than a decade's worth of hit singles under her belt when Jane Fonda approached her about taking on the role of Doralee Rhodes, a secretary to the movie's antagonist, an exploitative boss played by Dabney Coleman. Parton, Fonda and Lily Tomlin played three women he keeps under his thumb until they turn the tables in an act of hilarious revenge that made the movie into a runaway hit.
The film earned more than $100 million dollars against a budget of just $10 million when it was released on Dec. 19 of 1980, and it increased Parton's star power exponentially. She also wrote and performed the film's title song, which reached No. 1 on Billboard's country songs chart, as well as the adult contemporary chart and the mainstream Hot 100. The song was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song, and it won two Grammy Awards for Country Song of the Year and Female Country Vocal of the Year, as well as taking home a People's Choice Award for Favorite Motion Picture Song.
Parton would go on to a successful career in film that included The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Steel Magnolias and more, and 9 to 5 would live on first in a television series of the same name, then in a Broadway musical. In 2019 there was speculation that Parton would reunite with Fonda and Tomlin for a much-anticipated 9 to 5 sequel , and they confirmed that they hoped to. But in October, Parton herself quashed the rumors, saying that the script had fallen through and the project was unlikely to go forward.
Parton, Fonda and Tomlin are among the women who are participating in a forthcoming documentary titled Still Working 9 to 5, which examines the original film's core issues of gender discrimination, pay inequity and workplace harassment through the modern-day lens of the #MeToo movement and addresses how they are still relevant today. That film is slated for release in the fall of 2020 to coincide with the 40th anniversary of 9 to 5.
See Dolly Parton Through the Years