Dolly Parton's touching message to Kenny Rogers' family, friends and fans.

On March 20, 2020, Dolly woke up to learn her longtime singing partner and cherished friend, Kenny Rogers had passed away. Kenny's family had reported his passing saying he died peacefully at home.

“The Rogers family is sad to announce that Kenny Rogers passed away last night at 10:25 p.m. at the age of 81,” his representative said. “Rogers passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family."

Kenny Rogers

You never know how much you love somebody until they’re gone. I’ve had so many wonderful years and wonderful times with my friend Kenny, but above all the music and the success I loved him as a wonderful man and a true friend. So you be safe with God and just know that I will always love you, dolly.

Posted by Dolly Parton on Saturday, March 21, 2020

Old Friends

As Dolly's friend, Kenny was always there for her when she called upon him to help with a cause she was supporting and vice versa. In September of 2016, Kenny performed at a sold-out concert at Dollywood raising $60,000 for Dolly Parton's Imagination Library. And just a few short weeks later, Dolly called on Kenny again. He joined her and many other artists at "Smoky Mountains Rise: A Benefit for the My People Fund" telethon that helped raise nearly $9 million for victims of the Smoky Mountain wildfires.

Finally, in October of 2017, the old friends took the stage for the final time at Kenny's “All In For The Gambler: Kenny Rogers’ Farewell Concert Celebration.” The star-studded event honored Kenny’s historic 60-year career.

Legendary Career

Kenny Rogers' career spanned more than six decades starting in the 1960s. He was featured on 30 number-one hits. Kenny was a five-time CMA Awards winner and a 10-time Academy of Country Music Honoree. He was a Country Music Hall of Famer and three-time GRAMMY® Award winner. In 2013 he was the recipient of the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award at the CMAs. He sold more than 100 million records worldwide. And in 1986 in a joint poll, readers of both USA Today and People voted him the “Favorite Singer of All Time.”

Thirty years after their smash hit, "Islands In The Stream" Dolly and Kenny partnered up to record, "You Can't Make Old Friends," a touching ballad about their life-long friendship. His fans will forever remember this treasured American artist who brought them "Lucille," "The Gambler," "Coward of the County," "Lady" and many others.

Celebration of Life Plans

The family representative also said, "The family is planning a small private service at this time out of concern for the national COVID-19 emergency. They look forward to celebrating Kenny’s life publicly with his friends and fans at a later date.”

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Photo Credit: Curtis Hilbun

Old friends and duet partners Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers shared the stage for a final performance in Nashville, TN.

On Oct, 25, Dolly Parton joined her old friend and longtime duet partner Kenny Rogers, at his Nashville, TN performance of “All In For The Gambler: Kenny Rogers’ Farewell Concert Celebration.” This star-studded event honored Kenny’s historic 60-year career. Some of music’s most well-known artists graced the stage including Alison Krauss, Chris Stapleton, Elle King, Idina Menzel, Jamey Johnson, Lady Antebellum, Lionel Richie, Little Big Town, Reba McEntire, The Flaming Lips, The Judds and Wynonna.

The once-in-a-lifetime celebration featured the final performance together by Kenny and Dolly, one of country music’s most beloved duets. Songs like “Islands In The Stream”, “You Can’t Make Old Friends”, “Real Love” and “We Got Tonight” are sure to be covered over and over but will forever remain Kenny & Dolly classics.

Kenny & Dolly

In addition to their signature duets, Dolly and Kenny recorded a Christmas album together, “Once Upon A Christmas” and starred in a network television special in 1984 called “Kenny & Dolly: A Christmas To Remember”. In 2015, Kenny held a benefit concert at Dollywood raising money for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. And when Dolly called on him for the 2016 telethon "Smoky Mountains Rise," benefiting East Tennessee wildfire victims, he was eager to help.

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Kenny Rogers’ Legacy

In a career that has spanned more than six decades, Kenny Rogers has left an indelible mark on the history of American music. His songs have endeared music lovers and touched the lives of millions around the world. Chart-topping hits like “The Gambler,” “Coward of the County,” “Through the Years,” “Lady,” and “Islands in the Stream” are just a handful of his songs that continue to inspire new generations of artists and fans alike.

With twenty-four number-one hits, Kenny is a six-time CMA Awards winner, Country Music Hall of Famer, three-time GRAMMY® Award winner and a recipient of the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2013 CMAs. In a joint poll, readers of both USA Today and People voted him the “Favorite Singer of All Time.”

Photo Credit: Curtis Hilbun

Country Music Hall Of Famers Kenny Rogers And Dolly Parton To Share Stage In Last Performance Together Ever!

Blackbird Presents and Kenny Rogers announce “All In For The Gambler: Kenny Rogers’ Farewell Concert Celebration,” an all-star concert event taping at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN on Wednesday, October 25, 2017, at 7 p.m. CT. This once-in-a-lifetime concert event will honor Kenny Rogers' historic 60-year career and will feature the final performance together by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, one of popular music’s most beloved duets of all time. Kenny said,

“As I'm bringing this chapter of my career to a close, this will be an unforgettable way to celebrate with my talented friends, who I'm so grateful to have crossed paths with.”

Kenny went on to say,

“It means so much that they would feel compelled to do this for me. Of course, the night would not be the same without Dolly Parton being part of it. We've enjoyed a special friendship for decades, and I'll forever look back fondly on the many collaborations, performances, and laughs we've shared as some of the most extraordinary moments of my career. I know it will be a moving experience for us standing on that stage together for one last time."

All-Star Lineup

This one-night-only concert event taping will bring together fans, friends and music icons to celebrate Kenny Rogers. “All In For The Gambler” will feature performances by Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Little Big Town, Alison Krauss, The Flaming Lips, Idina Menzel, Jamey Johnson, Elle King and many other special guests to be announced in the coming weeks. Dolly said,

“Kenny is like a family member to me. We have been friends for over 30 years and made musical magic together. Since 1983, when we released ‘Islands In The Stream,’ everyone has had an expectation to see Kenny everywhere I go and me with him wherever he goes.”

Dolly continued,

“Well, I guess for many of those fans that wanted to see us together, this will be that night. Performing with Kenny for the last time ever on October 25th is going to be emotional for both of us, but it’s also going to be very special. Even though Kenny may be retiring, as he fades from the stage, our love for each other will never fade away.”

In this video, Kenny comments on what it be like to perform with Dolly for the last time in a public setting?

When asked, How do you begin to put together the set list for your final show - what kind of pressure is that? Kenny said,

“My favorite set list would be, some of my hits with Dolly. I think "Can't Make Old Friends"..."Islands in the Stream" and the songs I've done with other people. I would love to do some of those...Duets are part of the high point in my life and in my career.”

Ticket Information

Tickets go on sale July 21, 2017, at 10 a.m. CT online at, by phone at 800-745-3000, all Ticketmaster locations and the Bridgestone Arena box office. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the T.J. Martell Foundation and the Kenny Rogers Children’s Center.

About Kenny Rogers

In a career that has spanned more than six decades, Kenny Rogers has left an indelible mark on the history of American music. His songs have endeared music lovers and touched the lives of millions around the world. Chart-topping hits like “The Gambler,” “Lady,” “Islands In The Stream,” “Lucille,” “She Believes In Me,” and “Through the Years” are just a handful of Kenny Rogers' songs that continue to inspire new generations of artists and fans alike.

Kenny, with twenty-four number-one hits, is a Country Music Hall of Fame member, six-time CMA Awards winner, three-time GRAMMY® Award winner, recipient of the CMA Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013, CMT Artist of a Lifetime Award honoree in 2015 and has been voted the "Favorite Singer of All Time" in a joint poll by readers of both USA Today and People.

Dolly & Kenny Through The Years

"Islands in the Stream" Duet With Kenny Rogers
"Kenny & Dolly: A Christmas to Remember"
"Real Love"
"Kenny, Dolly and Willie: Something Inside So Strong"
Sold-Out Kenny Rogers Concert Raises $60,000 for Dolly’s Imagination Library
Smoky Mountains Rise: A Benefit for the My People Fund Telethon

Starring as Dolly Parton's father in the new NBC movie, Ricky Schroder shares his thoughts on his character, Dolly's approval of his performance and more.

Ricky Schroder plays Robert Lee in "Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors." This father of four said he was naturally drawn to watching over the children on set.

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Q. As you started to develop your character, what things about Robert Lee stood out or perhaps surprised you?

A. I wanted to do a good job in my character for Dolly and her family. This movie is so dear and important to her that I really wanted to honor who her father was and their relationship, because she just adored him. Dolly gave me just a few tidbits of information here and there when we were producing the movie that were extremely helpful about him and his nature and his humor; how he didn't like to waste words. He was a man of few words. It was an honor to play him.

Q. The Parton family is known for their tight-knit bonds. While filming, did the cast develop similar family-like relationships?

A. It's very easy to want to be a father and protector and teacher for those kids. They're such sweet kids, the whole clan. You know, you work together with your coworkers so many hours, and you just get to like them. You get to know them a little bit, you get to know their personalities. I have an extra kind of soft place in my heart for those kids, because they have to work so hard, especially little [Alyvia]. She worked so hard. She carried so much weight, so well, on her broad shoulders that you can't help but feel protective over those kids. That was a wonderful time with those kids.

Q. Considering everything you have done in your career, where does this role rank in your list of achievements?

A. Well, I'll let you know when I see it [laughing]. I have every expectation that it's going to be a movie that I'll be so proud of. I had a lot of good feelings making this movie.

Q. By today's standards, with four children, you have a big family. Was there ever a moment while making this film, you stopped to think about the challenges Robert Lee faced raising a family of 12?

A. Sure, enormous challenges to feed 12, plus yourself and your wife, 14 people. I'm not going to discount the challenges that parents today face either. There's just massive challenges and pressures on today's parents, maybe not providing the basics as what Lee needed to provide... [but] enormous responsibility for sure.

Q. The song "Coat of Many Colors," first debuted in 1971, yet it still has a powerful message for people today. Why do you think people relate so well to this story?

A. Because of Dolly, I think. We all want to know where she came from. She is so special and unique. That's really what this movie shows people, where Dolly came from and who loved her and who was with her and helped nurture her.

Q. Other than "Coat of Many Colors" do you have a favorite Dolly song?

A. Probably one of my favorites is the duet with her and Kenny Rogers, "Islands in the Stream."

Q. What was your favorite moment of making the film or your favorite takeaway?

A. I'm so proud of so many people who worked so hard on the movie. My favorite takeaway... probably a note that Dolly wrote me one day when we were in production. She said she had been watching the dailies, you know the work from the previous days. She was so glad she chose me to play her father. That was a pretty special moment to get that letter from her.

See more cast interviews and tune in Thursday, December 10 at 9/8c on NBC to watch Ricky Schroder as Robert Lee Parton in "Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors."

Important Links:

Days after announcing his retirement on the TODAY show, Kenny Rogers raises $60,000 for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library as the final artist in Dollywood’s Showcase of Stars benefit concert series.

Image by Curtis Hilbun

Dolly’s longtime friend and duet partner, Kenny Rogers, returned to Dollywood to help raise money and awareness for her Imagination Library, a book gifting program for kids from birth to age five. Just days after announcing his retirement on the TODAY show, Kenny sang to a sold-out crowd, giving everyone a night to remember at Dollywood’s D.P. Celebrity Theatre. Fans from around the world made their way to Pigeon Forge, TN for a chance to see “The Gambler” performing songs from his treasure chest of mega hits in an intimate setting.

During a special meet and greet before the concert, we asked Kenny what about Dolly and her Imagination Library made him want to come be a part of the benefit concert series. He said,

"You know, she’s an amazing person. She can take something and really grow it into something fantastic. She said they’ve shipped 70 million books! I think it’s a great idea. I’m glad to be a part of this and I hope it helps!"

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The autumn air of the Smokies was filled with the sweet sounds of Kenny’s hit songs throughout the park. From “Coward Of The County,” “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town,” and “The Gambler,” to “Islands In The Stream,” “Lady” and “You Can’t Make Old Friends,” the moment the ever so recognizable sounds would begin, the crowd again and again erupted in thunderous applause.

When it was time to count the money, Kenny’s performance raised over $60,000 for Dolly’s Imagination Library bringing the total raised during the benefit concert series to more than $635,000.

When Dolly heard the news, she said,

"I’m so grateful to Kenny for wanting to help my Imagination Library. He’s always been such a great friend to me and I’m so happy that he made time to come to Dollywood and I know the fans just loved it. Kenny, if you’re reading this, I want to you to know just how much I appreciate you and you know I’ll always love you!"



All Things Dolly
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