Dolly Parton is celebrating her 75th birthday, so it seems like the perfect time to remember one of the most unexpected and intriguing facts about the country music star: that we have her, in part, to thank for Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
While Parton was not herself credited as a producer on the long-running fantasy series, a company she co-created and owned was responsible for it coming to television.
Sandollar Entertainment, which is listed on the end credits of every episode of the show, was created by Parton and her friend and former business partner Sandy Gallin in 1986. It produced a number of films, including Father of the Bride (1991) and Fly Away Home (1996), as well as several Parton projects – most recently her Netflix anthology series Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings.
It also produced the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie, released in 1992 to dismal reviews. It was Gail Berman, then an executive at Sandollar, who still believed there was potential in the property, and proposed launching the concept as a TV series.
Both Berman and Gallin are credited as executive producers on the Buffy series, along with its spin-off series Angel, though Parton herself is not. She did, however, play a fundamental if often forgotten role in bringing Joss Whedon’s creation to the screen.
While it has never been confirmed, some have suggested that Buffy Summers’ on-screen birthday (19 January) is a secret tribute to Parton – the country star herself being born on the same day.
The resurfaced news of Parton’s uncredited involvement in Buffy has sparked shock among fans last year.
“I was today years old when I found out that Dolly Parton was an uncredited executive producer on Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” one person wrote on Twitter.
“What?” asked another. “WHAT?????????????????????????????????”
Another added: “There’s no emoji for the look on my face.”
Running from 1997 until 2003, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series starred Sarah Michelle Gellar as a young woman tasked with protecting the world from vampires and demons.
Parton was born on this day (19 January) in 1946.