Dolly Parton ‘Freaked Out’ When a Fan Left a Baby Named Jolene at Her House

Dolly Parton may be one of the most famous country singers in recent memory, and many people grew up listening to her songs. At the same time, plenty of fans don’t know much about her backstory, including the time someone left a baby at her front gate. 

Learn more about the living legend that is Dolly Parton, the influence she has had in country music and beyond, and her weird and scary experience with a baby named Jolene. 

Dolly Parton smiling on stage
Dolly Parton | Michael Kovac/Getty Images

How old is Dolly Parton and what is she worth?

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Dolly Parton is a 75-year-old American singer and songwriter, but that’s just the beginning of her credentials. Parton is also an actor, author, humanitarian, and so much more. Mostly, though, Parton is known for her country music, and she has been in the country music business since 1967, earning her an impressive net worth of $600 million.

Parton was born and raised in rural Tennessee, and according to Taste of Country, she is the fourth of 12 siblings, three of which have died. Parton has frequently described her financial background as “dirt poor”, and this has had a tremendous influence on the lyrics she has written over the years. She was clearly born to sing and write songs, making her first performances on the radio at the age of 10, per DollyParton.com

The day after she graduated from high school, Parton moved to Nashville to pursue music, and she was quickly signed by Combine Publishing. Her music saw quick success as she and her uncle Bill Owens wrote several songs that made the charts in the 1960s. Her managers pitched her as a pop singer to begin, but she was always drawn to country music and was finally able to delve into that world in 1966 by releasing “Dumb Blonde.” 

Did Dolly Parton want Elvis to sing
‘I Will Always Love You’?

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Dolly Parton has had a major impact on country music itself, and thanks to her humanitarian efforts, the world at large. Musically, Parton’s first major hit was her chart-topping “Jolene,” inspired by a red-headed bank teller who flirted with Parton’s husband, according to Country Living.

Parton is also known for her role in the 1980 comedy 9 to 5, which was eventually turned into a television series and later a musical theater production. Parton wrote the iconic theme song, and it became one of the most successful songs of the 1980s. 

She also wrote “I Will Always Love You”, and according to Taste of Country, Elvis Presley expressed interest in recording the song. The deal fell through, and Whitney Houston ended up recording the song. Many say that Parton paved the way for future female country singers. Aside from music, Parton has dedicated much of her life to philanthropy, founding her own organization the Dollywood Foundation.

She also has a hugely successful literacy program, called Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, that mails one book per month to enrolled children from birth until kindergarten. This organization has donated over 1.5 million books in its tenure. Most recently, Parton donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, helping fund the development of the Moderna vaccine.

Parton describes weird occurrence with a baby named Jolene

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Clearly, Dolly Parton has lived an incredible life. But being in the spotlight for as long as she has can lead to some strange happenings, like the time someone left a baby named Jolene at her front gate. According to NME, Parton said, “We came home one day and there was a baby in a box at our gate with a note in it. The note said, ‘My name is Jolene, my momma has left me here and she wants you to have me’. Of course, we all freaked out!”

Parton called the local Department of Health and Human Services and looked after the child until help arrived. Parton has no idea what happened to the baby to this day, but it sure sounds like she has seen some weird things from fans throughout her career.