Jane Fonda Shares The Life Lesson Dolly Parton Taught By Example

Jane Fonda and Dolly Parton share a unique relationship where they have been in each other’s orbits several times, including when Fonda sang backup for Parton. The ‘Grace and Frankie’ actress gave insight to Conan O’Brien about a crucial life lesson she learned from the singer herself.

The two friends, plus Lily Tomlin, had worked together on the women’s empowerment comedy film ‘9 to 5’ for which Dolly even wrote a song. Over four decades later, the larger-than-life personalities reunited and shared the screen on Netflix once again. Parton appeared in a cameo on Tomlin and Fonda’s show ‘Grace and Frankie’ last year.

Although they worked together on shows and movies, Fonda recalled her time on Parton’s tour bus going city to city performing as her backup vocalist. During that time, the actress never once saw Parton not looking top-notch for her fans, so she witnessed firsthand that you had to appreciate people who love you and cheer you on.

Fonda’s words about working with Dolly Parton:

“I sang backup for Dolly at the Grand Ole Opry, oh my God, and anyway, she put me on her tour bus with three or four friends of hers, and we spent ten days touring Appalachia, Missouri, the Ozarks, Arkansas, and I ended up meeting somebody that I went back and lived with and chopped their wood and built their cow and so forth. So we were on the road in the back hollers, you know, with people who lived in tar paper shacks.

Dolly and it was her tour bus, and she had the stateroom at the end. I never saw her not looking a hundred percent Dolly Parton, the wig, the whole thing. Going to see these people, she presented herself just like they hoped she would, and I thought, ‘Yeah, that’s how to do it; you’ve got to love those people who like you.’ Oh boy, does she have fans, and she just loves them and appreciates them, and she taught me a lot; she didn’t say anything; she showed by example.”

Those ten days, which might seem like a short time for some, turned out to be vital for Jane Fonda to realize what it took to be in the public eye while also recognizing the people who brought you up along the way. Parton’s showing that by example impacted Fonda for the following years of her career.