Dolly Parton requests bill proposing statue of her likeness on Tennessee Capitol grounds be nixed

NASHVILLE — Dolly Parton is not quite ready to be immortalized.

In a Thursday tweet, the legendary recording artist, actress, entrepreneur, philanthropist and Tennessee native politely expressed her wish that a bill proposing a statue in her honor be erected on the state’s Capitol grounds in Nashville be removed from consideration.

“Given all that is going on in the world, I don’t think putting me on a pedestal is appropriate at this time,” Parton wrote, stressing she is nonetheless “honored and humbled by their intention.”

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Rep. John Mark Windle, D-Livingston, introduced House Bill 135 in mid-January aimed at honoring Parton with a statue that would face the direction of the Ryman Auditorium, the former home of the Grand Ole Opry and the site of numerous Parton performances over the years.

“At this point in history, is there a better example, not just in America but in the world, of a leader that is kind, decent, passionate human being? (Parton is) a passionate person who loves everyone, and everyone loves her,” Windle told The Tennessean at that time.

Parton said in her tweet, however, that timing is everything.

“I hope, though, that somewhere down the road several years from now or perhaps after I’m gone if you still feel I deserve it, then I’m certain I will stand proud in our great State Capitol as a grateful Tennessean,” she wrote.

In addition to her eponymous recording and acting careers, Parton founded the Imagination Library more than 20 years ago to boost childhood literacy, which has donated more than 100 million books to children under the age of 5 across the globe. She also established Dollywood Co. in 1986, and the entertainment empire employs thousands, The Tennessean reported.

Most recently, however, Parton’s philanthropy took center stage when she announced a $1 million donation to Vanderbilt University in April that has since been used to help develop Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.

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