Watch: Dolly Parton 'Knew Something Bad' was Happening, Funded COVID Vaccine Efforts

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Wednesday August 18, 2021

Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton  (Source:Associated Press)

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, country music legend and longtime LGBTQ+ ally Dolly Parton felt that "something bad was on the rise," which prompted her $1 million donation to support research into a vaccine ET Canada reported.

"Parton made the donation" to Vanderbilt University Medical Center "in April 2020, just as the pandemic was becoming a major crisis in North America," the news article recalled.

"When the pandemic came out, I just felt led to do something because I knew something bad was on the rise," Parton said during an interview with Absolute Radio Country that was posted on Aug. 16.

Parton downplayed her contribution, saying, "I probably get a lot more credit than I deserve but I was happy to be part of that, and to be able to try stop something in its tracks that's really become such a monster for all of us."

The iconic singer's remarks echoed those she made to the Associated Press in the interview last February. "When the pandemic first hit, that was my first thought, 'I need to do something to try to help find a vaccination,' " Parton told the AP.

Parton was on Absolute Radio Country to talk about "9 to 5 The Musical," which is about to commence a UK tour and said that women and men alike should get proper credit for their work. She also touted her new fragrance, "Scent from Above," as well as an upcoming thriller, co-written by Parton with James Patterson, titled "Run, Rose, Run," which is "about a young singer-songwriter on the rise and on the run, and determined to do whatever it takes to survive," Absolute Radio Country recounted. Parton revealed she had written an album of new songs to accompany the novel, which comes out in March of 2022.

Parton expressed enthusiasm for country music's growing diversity. "I love the diverse aspect of the business today," the superstar said, going on to add, "I'm so proud of the music business now that they're allowing people in that weren't allowed to be there before and they are treated with respect."

Of the production, Parton said: "We have wonderful dancing, wonderful acting, wonderful guest stars or artists performing that do such a great job. We're just so happy to be back on stage!"

The star summed up: "We have got to let all this COVID stuff, we have got to let all the traveling be a little easier, we have got to all stay smart and be good but I definitely want to come back to the UK, because I love my fans there."

Watch Dolly Parton's interview on Absolute Radio Country below. (Note: Parton's comments about helping fund COVID vaccine research come at the 9:40 mark.)


Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.