As Oscar night nears and Meryl Streep goes for her fourth Academy Award (out of 19 nominations), it’s hard not to notice the similarities she shares with another living legend– Dolly Parton.
The two icons definitely took different paths to get to their level of stardom. Streep grew up in an upper-middle class home in the Northeast where she excelled at everything and made her way to Vassar and Yale before ending up with a Master of Fine Arts from the Ivy League School. Parton grew up in a one-room log cabin in rural Tennessee with 11 brothers and sisters. She left the cabin and moved to Nashville the day she graduated from high school.
Both women young and stayed married. And somehow, despite their stardom, they’ve both maintained relatively low-key personal lives. I couldn’t pick either of their husbands out of a crowd of three.
In no uncertain terms, it seems like everything they touch turns to gold or becomes iconic. The awards and honors are too numerous to list, but here’s a quick taste:
Most nominated actor (male or female) for Academy Awards.
Most No. 1 songs on Billboard Country charts for a female and her 42 Top 10 country albums are the most of any country music artist, male or female.
With her third Oscar win for her performance “The Iron Lady” in 2012, Streep became the fifth actor to win three competitive acting Academy Awards.
Most GRAMMY nominations for a female artist at 46 (Beyonce recently tied her).
Most Golden Globe nominations for any actor at 29.
42 career CMA Award nominations.
Honored with the National Medal of Arts, the highest honor given by the U.S. government for excellence in the arts and is presented by the President.
Awarded as a Kennedy Center Honoree, given to those in the performing arts for their lifetime of contributions to American culture.
Awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Both women are extremely philanthropic, especially when it comes to education and women’s rights.
Both women are loved and adored by legions of fans and most importantly, by their peers. Not just loved, but respected.
And then, there’s that knack they have for saying, exactly the right thing. Like when Meryl said, “I think the most liberating thing I did early on was to free myself from any concern with my looks as they pertained to my work.” Of course, a quote like that can only be followed up by Dolly saying, “I’m no natural beauty. If I’m gonna have any looks at all, I’m gonna have to create them.”
Even when you take away the awards and accolades from two of the most awarded and honored artists of all-time, you get back their cores– Meryl Streep is the Dolly Parton of acting because she’s always stayed true to herself, her craft and her family.
Just like Dolly.