Dolly Parton Suffers Tragic Passing After Film Legend is Confirmed Dead

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A woman with blonde hair and wearing a sparkly white outfit looks down thoughtfully. In the top right corner, there's an inset image of music legend Dolly Parton in white, pointing at a man in a suit.

Credit: Inside the Magic

Dolly Parton is mourning the loss of friend and co-star Dabney Coleman.

A scene from a movie shows a woman with curly blonde hair, reminiscent of music legend Dolly Parton, pointing her finger assertively at a man with a mustache who is sitting and looking surprised. The woman is leaning forward, while the man is leaning back in his chair. They appear to be in an office.
Credit: 20th Century Fox

Dabney Coleman, the renowned comic actor known for his roles in 9 to 5, Tootsie, and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, who had a talent for playing characters with few redeeming qualities, has passed away at the age of 92.

Coleman died on Thursday at his home in Santa Monica, as confirmed by his daughter, singer Quincy Coleman, to The Hollywood Reporter.

“My father crafted his time here on Earth with a curious mind, a generous heart and a soul on fire with passion, desire and humor that tickled the funny bone of humanity,” she said. “As he lived, he moved through this final act of his life with elegance, excellence and mastery. A teacher, a hero and a king, Dabney Coleman is a gift and blessing in life and in death as his spirit will shine through his work, his loved ones and his legacy … eternally.”

While Bob Coleman found acclaim for his comedic talents, his television career extended beyond traditional sitcoms. He tackled the role of a cantankerous talk show host in NBC’s Buffalo Bill, a critically praised show that unfortunately had a short run of only 26 episodes.

Despite several attempts to headline his own sitcoms, including ABC’s The Slap Maxwell Story, Fox’s Drexell’s Class, and NBC’s Madman of the People, these projects weren’t renewed past their first seasons.

In recent years, Coleman showcased his versatility by taking on dramatic roles. He brought his signature mustache to the character of Burton Fallin, a law firm owner and father figure to Simon Baker’s character, on the CBS drama The Guardian. He also portrayed the powerful Atlantic City figure Commodore Louis Kaestner in HBO’s critically acclaimed series Boardwalk Empire.

Most recently, Coleman embodied John Dutton Sr., the patriarch of the Dutton family (played by Kevin Costner) in the hit drama Yellowstone.

Paramount’s flagship drama Yellowstone faced a turbulent production period in late 2023.

Strikes by the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) caused significant delays, pushing the season premiere from its intended November 2023 release to November 2024. With the resolution of these labor disputes, fans can finally breathe a sigh of relief and eagerly anticipate the show’s return.

Kevin Costner leaning on a fence in Yellowstone
Credit: Paramount

Adding to the anticipation, Kevin Costner, who portrays John Dutton, recently offered a glimmer of hope regarding the show’s future. Months after speculation arose about his potential departure from the series, Costner, in an exclusive interview with Entertainment Tonight’s Miguel A. Melendez, expressed openness to returning.

This news comes despite prior reports of creative disagreements between Costner and co-creator Taylor Sheridan, with some sources suggesting Costner’s reluctance to dedicate more filming time for Season 5 contributed to the tension.

Costner’s recent remarks suggest a potential reconciliation, paving the way for his continued involvement in the series. However, it remains to be seen if a formal agreement for Season 6 has been reached.

Coleman’s filmography also includes a memorable turn as the chauvinistic and conniving Franklin Hart Jr. in the 1980 workplace comedy 9 to 5. This film, starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Dolly Parton in her feature film debut, became a landmark for its portrayal of women’s empowerment. Coleman’s character, ultimately receiving his comeuppance at the hands of Parton’s Doralee Rhodes, serves as a foil to the film’s central themes.

Reflecting on his experience, Coleman acknowledged the established careers of his co-stars. Despite his own rise to prominence with “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman,” he noted the contrasting nature of the projects. However, Coleman emphasized the warmth and inclusivity he encountered: “There’s no other way to put it,” he said, “all three of them went out of their way to make me feel equal.”

Lily Tomlin is paying tribute to her late co-star Dabney Coleman. The 84-year-old actress honored Coleman following his death with a heartfelt post on social media on Friday, May 17.

“We just loved him,” Tomlin wrote on X (formerly Twitter) about Coleman.

Tomlin shared a photo from the 1980 classic “9 to 5,” showing herself dressed as Disney’s Snow White in character as Violet Newstead, beside a startled-looking Coleman as her hateful boss, Franklin Hart Jr.

Reflecting on his experience working on “9 to 5,” Coleman previously said, “The girls were so supportive of me and included me in everything.”

“They were on a whole different level than I was at the time, but they were very sensitive about that and made sure that I was included in every publicity shot and tour,” Coleman further explained.

He was photographed reuniting with Tomlin, Dolly Parton, 78, and Jane Fonda, 86, in September 2008 during the opening night of Parton’s 9 to 5 play, inspired by the film, at the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles.

As of late, Dolly Parton, country singer extraordinaire and owner of theme park Dollywood, has been working on enhancing her theme park after its sudden closure. Dollywood shut down for the day a few weeks back, removing all guests from the park hours early.

Speaking of Dollywood, Dollywood has released details regarding admission for the highly anticipated opening of The Dolly Parton Experience attraction. To ensure a smooth experience for guests during the initial high-demand period from May 24 to June 2, timed entry tickets will be required for admission.

Dolly Parton Dollywood
Credit: Dollywood

The Dolly Parton Experience promises an immersive adventure for visitors. Interactive elements will transport guests on Dolly’s remarkable journey, from her humble beginnings in Locust Ridge to her international stardom. Spanning multiple buildings, the experience delves into her iconic career, the inspiration behind her dreams, the importance of family in her life, and a curated exhibit showcasing her evolving style.

At three times the size of the former Chasing Rainbows Museum, The Dolly Parton Experience offers a more comprehensive exploration of Dolly Parton’s life and legacy than ever before.

While Dollywood offers an ever-expanding celebration of Dolly Parton, her public appearances may become less frequent in the coming period.

Married since 1966, Dolly and her husband Carl Dean have shared a remarkable 58-year love story. Carl has always preferred a private life, but their dynamic shifted in 2017 when he received an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

Dolly, known for her unwavering dedication, made the decision to prioritize Carl’s well-being by scaling back her touring and public appearances to spend more time with him at their East Tennessee home. Recent reports suggest Dolly may further reduce her public schedule to focus on Carl’s care as he battles Alzheimer’s.

Dolly Parton with blond hair and a bright smile is sitting on a couch, holding a pink phone to her ear. Behind her, there are colorful flowers and green plants in a cozy indoor setting.
Credit: Disney

It does not seem Parton has commented on the passing of Coleman just yet, but the star is certainly mourning the loss of her friend. 

Coleman’s credits also include The Trouble With Girls (1969), Downhill Racer (1969), The Towering Inferno (1974), North Dallas Forty (1979), Melvin & Howard (1980), Modern Problems (1981), Young Doctors in Love (1982), Cloak & Dagger (1984), The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984), The Man With One Red Shoe (1985), There Goes the Neighborhood (1992), Amos & Andrew (1993), Clifford (1994), Devil’s Food (1996), You’ve Got Mail (1998), Inspector Gadget (1999), Stuart Little (1999), Moonlight Mile (2002), Domino (2005) and Rules Don’t Apply (2016).

All of us at Inside the Magic wish Dabney Coleman’s friends and family our condolences during this time.

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