EXCLUSIVE: Dolly Parton Reflects on 50 Years in Showbiz: 'It Makes You Feel Proud' and 'Old'
By Sophie Schillaci
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Dolly Parton is gearing up for another Golden anniversary.
Less than one year after celebrating her 50th wedding anniversary with husband Carl Dean, Parton will celebrate the 50th anniversary of her debut album, Hello, I'm Dolly, in February. To help her get ready for the occasion, ET caught up with the living legend in Nashville on Thursday to reflect on her five decades in the spotlight.
"It makes you feel proud. It makes you feel old, but it makes you feel like you might have done something good in your life," the 70-year-old superstar said. "Just being a part of country music after all these years, I feel like I've been here a long time."
It's no surprise that Parton has achieved such massive career longevity. During her first ET sit-down in 1982, the "Jolene" singer told us: "I will never retire, I like the work!"
Today, Parton can count stars like Katy Perry and Reese Witherspoon among some of her biggest fans. Both ladies adorably geeked out last month when Parton hit the Hollywood Bowl for a pair of sold-out shows.
"I'm very touched by all these gals that say I've touched them or inspired them, and [it] makes me feel like I must have done something right," Parton said of her famous fans, which also notably includes country stars Kacey Musgraves, Jennifer Nettles, Reba McEntire, goddaughter Miley Cyrus, and more. "Hopefully I can give them, you know, a little tricks of the trade if they ask me. I always say I don't give advice, but if they want some information, I can deliver that."
Following the massive success of last year's Coat of Many Colors TV special on NBC, Parton is back with a holiday season follow-up later this month. Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love airs on Nov. 30 on NBC, followed by a DVD release on Dec. 20.
"This particular movie, I wanted to have something that had the spirit of Christmas," Parton said. "I wanted it to carry faith and family and miracles and there have been a few miracles that happened in our lives 'cause we're faith-based people. My mother's dad, my grandpa, was a preacher and we've always had faith and prayer, and so there's some wonderful things that happened in this movie."
The original cast -- including Nettles, Ricky Schroder, and young Dolly, Alyvia Alyn Lind -- returns for the sequel, which also features a very special cameo from Parton herself.
"I get to play the 'Painted Lady,' the lady that I patterned my look after when I was a little kid," Parton said. "The lady that kinda worked the makeup and the peroxide hair, red lipstick, tight clothes and all that stuff that I thought that's how I wanted to look when I grew up. ... I thought, who better than me could play that?"
On Wednesday night, Parton showed off her classic sense of humor by poking a little bit of fun at herself on Jimmy Kimmel's Mean Tweets segment.
"I don't care what they say about me," she told ET, "I used to make more fun of myself than anybody can make of me."