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Secrets Behind Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 After 40 Years

It is no longer a secret that Dolly Parton is one of our brightest stars, and also among the most hard-working queens of country music. Starting with her number-one hits to being featured in top-grossing films, Dolly Parton is both an icon of the screen and stage. You may not be knowing that this “Jolene” crooner possesses both a big personality and hair to match, but here are a few lesser-known facts to pique your interest about the beloved living legend, who, to date, shows not a single sign of slowing down.

Born in a one-room cabin in 1946 in Tennessee, Parton launched her first single when she was just about 11 years old, proving that she was destined for stardom from a tender age. She made her debut on the Grand Ole Opry when she was just 13 years old, where Dolly Parton was introduced by the “Man in Black” aka Johnny Cash. She can play a slew of musical instruments, 10 to be more precise, including the fiddle, piano, banjo, and electric guitar. The exemplary actress and performer has written over 5,000 songs of which the most notable number is “9 to 5,”, “I Will Always Love You,” and “Coat of Many Colors,”.

With a natural penchant for playing instruments and writing songs, Parton is incapable of reading sheet music. But, hey, neither could The Beatles, so she is certainly in good company. In 1981, Dolly Parton received a nomination for the category of Best Original Song from the Academy Awards for her melodious “9 to 5. The track shared the same title as the cult comedy film she first starred in as Miss Doralee Rhodes, the secretary who absolutely hated her boss, and even came up with a plan along with two of her female cohorts to teach him a lesson. To know more about this country music hall of Famer, keep watching our video.

Dolly Parton’s most memorable big-screen 9 to 5 debut secured the position in the highest-grossing film in the comedy category of 1980, also earning the star an Oscar nomination along with a pair of Grammy awards for its now-classic, hit theme song. Co-starring Parton, Jane Fonda, and Lily Tomlin as co-workers who decide to hold Dabney Coleman, the egotistical, sexist, lying, and hypocritical bigot of a boss hostage and revolutionize their oppressive workplace into one that promotes equality. The over-the-top, extremely hilarious hijinks could not cover up the film’s more resonant message that has simply strengthened in today’s era of #MeToo and Time’s Up.

Having spawned a short-term TV series in the Eighties and a Broadway musical that’s now running in London’s West End, 9 to 5 keeps resonating with its fans. This year the movie turns 40 and now we have confirmed the news that the rumored sequel has been clocked out. The original film’s screenwriter, Patricia Resnick, tweeted last year, mentioning that she was sad because Disney decided not to progress with the 9 to 5 sequel.

In celebration of 9 to 5’s influence and its timely message, the studio demanded a sequel. Considering the popularity among fans, it is not even surprising that studio heads were thinking of prepping for a sequel. Tomlin shared with The Buzz that they had been trying for a sequel for a long time. They had three scripts but those did not match with what they were wanting.

Eventually, the movie’s legacy was revisited with a unique documentary titled, Still Working 9 to 5, focusing on new interviews with film stars, TV series, stage musicals, including Tomlin, Parton, and Fonda. The documentary serves to mark the movie’s milestone anniversary by emphasizing issues that still remain problematic within today’s workplaces. The recent sequel is co-directed by Camille Hardman and Gary Lane and produced by Hardman’s own Mighty Fine Entertainment and the two brothers Larry and Gary Lane’s Twinzzone.

Wondering what Parton thinks of her debut film today? Well, the star is well aware of the fact that the film is a classic now and it happens to be one that is very close to her heart. She has also openly declared that she has starred in several movies that fans and others refer to as classics and she loves each of those yet 9 to 5 hold a special place like that of first love. It is the first movie that she ever agreed to do. She added that she had not even seen a film being that was made during that time that had everything falling in place so seamlessly and perfectly.


It is 40 years now and still relevant, important and a favorite, mentions the singer, songwriter Parton. But why? What is it that makes the bona fide comedy classic so iconic? In honor of its 40th anniversary, we will tell you what those are. Meanwhile, if you are enjoying this video, do not forget to pause for a second to like and subscribe to our channel.

Lily Tomlin initially rejected the 9 to 5 offer

Though the role of Violet Newstead was written keeping the legendary comedian and actress, Tomlin, on the mind, she turned down the role when it was initially offered to her. Later on, she clarified to the Evening Times that she was shooting for The Incredible Shrinking Woman and, at that point, was overworked. She mentioned that she had worked for seven months for that movie, so she was desperate to take a break.

 You must be wondering what made Tomlin change her decision. Well, it was Jane Wagner, Tomlin’s wife, who was the driving force behind her reconsidering her decision. Apparently, Jane had told Tomlin that turning down the movie offer was going to be the biggest mistake of her life and insisted that the actress must make a call and inform Jane Fonda that she wants to pull back her resignation. Tomlin also confessed that she is grateful that she listened to Jane.

Dolly Parton refused to star in 9 to 5 unless she wrote the theme song

Parton may have been a Hollywood newcomer, but she was determined and got her way through things. Dolly Parton, the country music legend, refused to star in 9 to 5, the singer’s feature film debut, only if her producers allowed her to write and also perform the theme song.

Dolly Parton had memorized the whole script

Dolly Parton has reportedly revealed that because of her inexperience as an actor, she assumed that it was expected of her to memorize the whole script, instead of just the lines for her character.

Yes, if you are still in disbelieve, we are going to repeat it for you: Dolly Parton memorized her part as well as Lily’s, Jane’s, and Dabney’s.

The concept for 9 to 5 began with Jane Fonda

9 to 5 was produced by Jane Fonda’s firm, IPC Films, and the idea was a brainchild of Jane Fonda, who gathered inspiration from her friend’s real-life women’s organization called Nine to Five. It was based in Boston and was an association of all women workers. Although initially, Jane Fonda had thought of the film as a drama and not a comedy. In 1981, Fonda told The Canberra Times that her ideas for movies always come from the things she heard and perceived in her day-to-day life. Jane Fonda had heard some great stories about their workplace. She also added that she had long been attracted to 1940s films, which featured three female stars. So, she went ahead and made one herself.

The film was written specifically keeping four lead actors on its mind

It is not unfamiliar for screenwriters to write movies with specific actors on their minds, but it is not so common that the casting process also falls in line with the original plan. That was not the case with 9 to 5, which saw Patricia Resnick, the screenwriter, and producer’s luck work in her favor. She always had Jane Fonda, Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin, and Colin Higgins on her mind when she wrote the script. And all four celebrities ultimately appeared in the film.

There was a 9 to 5 sitcom

Though it was not nearly as popular as the film, 9 to 5 was also adapted to the small screen in the form of a sitcom that was running from 1982 to 1988. It did not feature any of its original actresses, but Rachel Dennison, Dolly Parton’s sister, starred in the role of Doralee, which was Parton’s character in the original film.

9 to 5 was also turned into a broadway musical

In 2009, almost 30 years after the movie’s release, 9 to 5 came back as a Broadway musical. In this one, Tomlin’s part was played by Allison Janney while Stephanie J. Block appeared in the role of Fonda, and it was Megan Hilty who filled Parton’s shoes. However, the Broadway musical show closed in about five months.

Sheena Easton released her song “9 to 5” at the same time

In the spring of 1980, just seven months before 9 to 5 made its debut, a Scottish singer and songwriter, Sheena Easton launched her song with the same title “9 to 5” in the UK. By the time the song made its way to American radio listeners in February 1981, the title was changed to Morning Train (Nine to Five) to avoid confusion with Dolly Parton’s famous song. The song, coincidentally, was also Easton’s greatest hit.

Ronald Reagan criticized the scene where girls smoked drugs

Ronald Reagan mentioned in his diary that he had watched 9 to 5 on Valentine’s Day with his wife, Nancy. But the former U.S President was critical of the scene where three female leads were shown to be smoking drugs. He considered it to be an endorsement of smoking a pot for young people who would see the film.

The original script saw the secretaries planning to kill their boss

Patricia Resnick’s original script for 9 to 5 was way too darker than the film that eventually turned out. If you are wondering what makes us say so, then let us tell you that the original script saw the female leads trying to kill the boss. Resnick revealed that her original thought was to kill him in funny ways.

Many of us have either sung or shaken a leg to Dolly Parton’s 1980s hit classic 9 to 5 at some point in our lives, but probably not all of us have managed to watch the film that is the namesake of the theme song. Have you watched it yet? If not, it’s high time you do. Because we would love to hear about your favorite scenes from the movie in our comment section.

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