Dolly Parton’s Tennessean roots are a big part of who she is as a person and as a performer, and that includes her 11 siblings. Huge Dolly fans may know a bit about the country music legend’s upbringing and family, but none of Dolly’s many brothers and sisters have reached quite her level of notoriety, so there’s a lot about them most people probably don’t know.
The 12 siblings, in order of birth, are: Willadeene, David Wilburn, Coy Denver, Dolly Rebecca, Bobby Lee, Stella Mae, Cassie Nan, Randy Huston, Larry Gerald, Estel Floyd, and twins Freida Estelle and Rachel Ann. Sadly, Larry passed away as an infant just four days old, according to Country Living.
Dolly may have been the only one of the clan to achieve icon status, but growing up in a musical household clearly had an impact on all of them. Many of Dolly’s siblings have music and acting careers of their own, and she has often collaborated with them over the years.
Many of the Parton siblings are musically gifted
Many of Dolly Parton’s sisters have also found success in the music business, including Stella Parton, who launched her career at around the same as Dolly, and became a country music star in her own right. Country music lovers may remember Stella’s hit “I Want to Hold You In My Dreams Tonight,” while social media users may be more familiar with Stella’s totally unfiltered Twitter account.
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Cassie is also a singer, and has performed with Dolly and her other siblings, while Frieda once sang as part of a punk band. Youngest brother Estel Floyd Parton was Dolly’s longtime songwriting partner and is famous for having penned “Rockin’ Years” from the album Eagle When She Flies and co-writing “Nickels and Dimes” from Heartbreaker. Floyd tragically died in 2018 at 61 years old, as reported by Country Living, but his contribution to the Parton legacy is indelible.
Dolly’s other musical brother, Randy, performed with his band Moonlight Bandits. Sadly, Dolly announced on her Facebook page in January 2021 that her brother died of cancer at age 67.
Some of Dolly Parton's siblings chose careers outside of music
All of the Partons may be musically talented, but that doesn’t automatically mean all of them pursued the music business as a career. The oldest sibling, Willadeene Parton, started out as part of the gospel singing trio that also included sisters Cassie and Stella, but eventually pivoted to a career writing books. Willadeene has written two family memoirs, In the Shadow of a Song: The Parton Family and Smoky Mountain Memories: Stories from the Hearts of the Parton Family, as well as a cookbook: All-Day Singing & Dinner on the Ground.
Rachel Dennison, the youngest Parton sibling (alongside twin Frieda), is a talented singer as well, but Rachel (pictured above) is more well-known for filling Dolly’s role of Doralee in the television series version of 9 to 5. As for the three oldest boys — David, Coy, and Bobby — there isn’t much to be said. The brothers are the only siblings of the Parton family not to go into show business, and they’ve managed to keep their lives pretty private, according to Wide Open Country.
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