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The 2003 Ceremony
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[illustration: Mark Twain and Lily Tomlin]

~ Lily Tomlin  

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The Mark Twain Prize (2003)

The All-Star Cast

Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton headed for Nashville the day after graduating high school in 1964. She soon signed a recording contract and earned her first hit record. Her career took off in 1967 when country music star Porter Wagoner added her to his popular television show. In 1974, Parton launched her solo career, going on to earn back-to-back Country Music Association "Female Vocalist of the Year" Awards and "Entertainer of the Year" in 1978. In 1980, she made her film debut in 9 to 5 and received an Oscar nomination. She also starred in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Rhinestone, Steel Magnolias and Straight Talk. Hit records like "9 to 5," "Here You Come Again," "Two Doors Down," "Baby I'm Burning," and "Islands in the Stream" have topped both the country and pop music charts. "I Will Always Love You," first recorded in 1973, hit number one in 1974. Parton recorded it again in 1982 and again it went to number one, making her the first artist ever to score two number one hits with the same song. Parton has earned four Grammy Awards, eight Country Music Association Awards, and 10 TNN/Music City News Awards. She has received five Academy of Country Music Awards and three People's Choice Awards. In 1986, Parton opened Dollywood, an entertainment theme park preserving her Smoky Mountain heritage. She has dedicated and contributed grants to numerous organizations, and in 1988 founded the Dollywood Foundation to support education and improve the quality of life for children in her native Sevier County, Tennessee. In 1999 she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and has earned stars on both the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Nashville Star Walk.