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Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda, and Lily Tomlin were a famous trio in the film 9 to 5. Together, their charaters worked to defeat their boss. Parton had some positive things to say about both of her co-stars in the film. However, she got closer to one of them than the other.

Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda, and Lily Tomlin | Robin Platzer/Images/Getty Images

Dolly Parton learns from Jane Fonda on the set

In a 1981 Playgirl interview with Parton recorded in Dolly on Dolly: Interviews and Encounters with Dolly Parton, Parton discussed working with Fonda. She states Fonda “was real helpful.” Fonda gave Parton tips of the trade such as, “Don’t talk on the same voice level. Don’t get too excited when you’ve got nowhere to go. Don’t start out high. Make a definite look, don’t move your eyes around.”

Fonda advised Parton to make a coach a part of any future movie contracts. Further, Parton was given “names of directors to think about.” Parton said Fonda was very sensitive and intelligent, contrary to popular impressions of her. Parton states Fonda told her “I’d like to see you someday do something really serious and dramatic. Not comedy, not funny.”

“9 to 5”

Dolly Parton reveals the co-star she felt closer to during filming of ‘9 to 5’

Parton states she was closer to Tomlin because she had more of a chance to get to know the star. “Actually, I felt a bit closer to Lily during the film because I had a chance to get to know her, and Jane had so much business stuff to do. And Lily and I are both with the same agency now. I spent more time talking to Lily. With Jane, we got to be close, but we really hadn’t gotten together enough to totally relax and just be pals. I have such respect and admiration for Jane. I’m not star struck, but I know when a person’s great.”

Is Dolly Parton still friends with Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin?

Parton initially had closer ties with Tomlin during the filming of the movie. This raises an interesting question – is Parton still friends with either actor years after the film’s release in 1980? According to, the three actors have remained friends since the making of the movie.

A trailer for 9 to 5

The Song That Always Makes Dolly Parton Think About Her Brother Who Died as a Baby: ‘It Was Like I’d Lost a Baby of My Own’

What do Fonda and Tomlin think about Parton? Tomlin has said Parton has an “extraordinary tale.” Fonda feels Parton has fan devotion that she has not previously witnessed. What she sees in Parton is an ability to “touch” a wide range of people. So along with a successful movie, a No. 1 hit song, it seems that Parton walked away from the set with two long-standing friendships.