Dolly Shares Unflattering Memories of Porter
Wagoner hired Parton as a duet partner and sidekick on 'The Porter Wagoner Show' in 1967, helping to put her on the country music map. But it was also his behavior during that show that partly served as inspiration for Parton's '9 to 5' character Doralee, a secretary repressed by her sexist boss.
"He was very much -- I don't mean this in a bad way, so don't play it up that way -- but he very much was a male chauvinist pig," Parton tells the Los Angeles Times. "He was in charge, and it was his show, but he was also very strong-willed. That's why we fought like crazy, because I wouldn't put up with a bunch of stuff."
Parton was on Wagoner's show for seven years before their acrimonious split.
"Out of respect for him, I knew he was the boss, and I would go along to where I felt this was reasonable for me," she recalls. "But once it passed points where it was like, 'Your way or my way, and this is just to control, to prove to you that I can do it,' ... then I would just pitch a damn fit. I wouldn't care if it killed me. I would just say what I thought. I would do like the Doralee character and say, 'I would turn you from a rooster to a hen if you don't stop!'"
The two remained at odds for about a decade, but they eventually made up and rekindled their friendship. Parton was at Wagoner's bedside when he died last year.
The musical '9 to 5' recently finished its run in Los Angeles and will make the cross-country trek to Broadway in April 2009.