by Marcus K. Dowling
Recent news of Dolly Parton appearing on an episode of Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda’s acclaimed Netflix series Grace and Frankie also occurs during the 40th anniversary celebration year of the trio’s superstar work in the film 9 to 5.
“We worked so well together on 9 to 5,” Parton recalled when announcing her forthcoming appearance. Just how well did Parton work together with the trio? Well, for certain, wild stories exist about Jane Fonda’s continued work alongside Parton after 9 to 5.
“They didn’t know who I was. I wouldn’t be here alive today if they did.” Though what Parton’s now 83-year-old co-star is describing sounds dangerous, she’s rather discussing performing onstage with her as a background vocalist at the vaunted Grand Ole Opry.
Fonda fondly recalled going on tour with Parton after shooting completed for their legendary 1980 film that also co-starred Dabney Coleman. However, their touring also included not just on-stage performances but some entertainingly wild times off-stage, too.
A stop in the Ozarks to visit Parton’s cousin involved a drunken evening at her cousin’s moonshine still. “She wanted me to know what really good White Lightning was like,” Fonda told James Corden a few years back. “I was drunk for 10 days, and I didn’t know it until I got home. [Dolly’s] husband edited a video of the trip for us, and when I look at that video, I realize that we had no idea that we were as drunk as we were,” Fonda recounted.
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Last year marked the 40th anniversary of 9 to 5’s release. The film sparked a greater level of pop-cultural renown for Parton, opening the door for her current status as a beloved global ambassador of goodwill. Regarding how appreciative she is for Fonda’s friendship and professional partnership, she once stated, “Jane [is] a sincere person, a very professional woman, and a special, special girl. She gave me a break on 9 to 5…and will always be special to [me].”