Biography of Freida Parton (b. 1957), singer

Only known biography of Freida Parton, Dolly Parton's little sister and also a singer


This Knol written and copyright 2011 by Will Johnson,, Professional Genealogist
See Also: Biography Index

Dolly Parton and her sister Freida Parton
from the Lakeland Ledger Dec 1984 - AP Photo
Click to Enlarge

Freida Parton was born 1 Jun 1957 with her twin Floyd.  They are siblings of the singer Dolly Parton.  They all grew up impoverished in the East Tennessee hills where they also attended Pentecostal church services.  When she was 13, she moved to Nashville and lived with Dolly and Dolly's husband Carl Dean.  She met her first husband Mark Andersen while still a teen-ager and married him a year later.

First mentioned May 1976 in a New York Times article on Dolly where she is referred to "the twins, Floyd and Freida".  Sep 1978 the Gadsen Times reports that she was to appear at the Etowah County fair in Alabama in two free grandstand shows, where it states that she "... began her professional career in 1975 as a back-up vocalist with Dolly's Traveling Family Band.  Last year she began a solo career, developed a distinctive country rock sound and is rapidly becoming a star in her own right."

In Dec 1980 she was "recently signed by Bearsville records".  In Jan 1981 "Sing for the Common Man" is being called a "Frieda Parton and Mark Anderson tune".  This song evidently co-written by Freida and her then-husband appeared on Dolly Parton's album 9 to 5 and Odd Jobs released 1980.  In 1981 Freida fell and injured her back.  She was bed-ridden for eight weeks and then took two years to "get back on her feet".  An article Feb 1984 states that Freida "is coming out with an album called Two Faced Freida".  A month later in March an article calls her style "screechy Led Zeppelin meets Pat Benatar rock..."  You can see the album cover and list of songs and artists at this link.  An article dated Jun 1984 tells us "there are 12 Parton children in all, including actress Rachel Parton, and singer Frieda Parton, the 'Janis Joplin of the Smokey Mountains'.  Among the 12 siblings, those chosen to have Wikipedia articles are of course Dolly, as well as Stella and Randy.

People magazine did a spread on her Jul 1984 "She fancies fishnet stockings and stiletto heels, bleached blond hair..." "If I wasn't Dolly's sister, critics would probably be saying, 'Wow, it's another Janis Joplin.  When I scream, people listen.' "  For genealogical purposes, they also gives us the clue that her video "Oriental Dolls" introduces Freida's "5-year old daughter, Jada Star".  They also tell us there, that in 1979 she was then married to Mark Andersen then lead guitarist in Dolly's band.  Not that they married in 1979 you understand, just that in that year they were already married.  A Dec 1984 article comments on her recent pose in "Playboy" magazine showing "mostly leg and some cleavage."  We learn then that she is the tenth of twelve children. "They wanted me to pose nude" but she declined "Once you've showed it all what have you got left?"

Other than Mark Andersen, she was also married at some time between 1973 and 1985 to Paul Overstreet, singer and songwriter and father, by his second and current wife, of actor Chord Overstreet.

In Feb 1986 it's reported that "Jada Star Music, a firm partially owned by Dolly Parton's sister Freida, has filed for reorganization under bankruptcy laws.  The company listed debts of $111,759."  When Dolly Parton opened Dollywood, there was a spread in People magazine May 1986 which includes the tidbit that : "at Dolly's request, sister Stella has staged a musical show featuring sister Freida, uncle Bill Owens and others..."

In Jun 1989, in an article on the Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, which we find "attracted 1.5 million visitors in 1988, and expects 2 million this year" and "While there, fans hear music by Miss Parton's brother and sister, Randy and Freida, and the Kinfolks, made up of an aunt, three uncles and two cousins."  In Dec 1990 she filed a worker's compensation lawsuit against Dollywood saying that "... she injured her back closing a dressing room door ... 10 Jun 1989, and underwent back surgery".

And then we hear nothing at all about Freida... nothing... until the New York Daily News May 1997 reports vaguely that the "thrice-married Frieda has battled drugs..."  In Mar 2001, ten of the twelve siblings filed a lawsuit in Sevier County, Tennessee to determine the competency of their mother Avie, the article mentions that "twins Freida and Floyd have sided with their mother."  A multi-page article on this fight appeared in the Daily News 14 Mar 2001.  In a move stunning for genealogists and biographers, they detail the careers, up to that point, of each of the twelve siblings. The estate was estimated to be worth about one million dollars.

"It comes as no surprise that Freida Parton is spearheading her mother's defense in the battle over conservatorship of her estate.  Freida Parton has spent much of her life as polar opposite to her famous big sister.  But her career never really gained steam.  She stayed in the fast lane, however, using drugs, marrying and divorcing three times and posing in Playboy magazine.  Eventually she returned to Sevier County and - like many of her siblings - relied on her sister's fame for employment.  She joined brother Randy as a performer at Dollywood, but she was openly resentful of the shadow her sister cast.  She opened her stage shows at the theme park with a demand that the audience shout her name.  When another bid at her own recording contract failed, she blamed a back injury she suffered backstage and filed suit against her sister and the theme park.  The lawsuit was settled, but apparently not to Freida Parton's satisfaction.  She would up in a drug treatment center for an addiction she said resulted from that same injury.  Every sordid detail made the tabloids, along with rumors that Dolly Parton was footing the bill."

And that's the last we hear of Freida.  Until I wrote this article 2011 because of her distant connection with Chord Overstreet, and I hate it when people are only known from a few brief snippets.

So Freida, what have you been doing for the past ten years?