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Dolly Parton: Singer, Songwriter, Pandemic Savior?

She wrote “I Will Always Love You” and “Jolin” on the same day and built a theme park around her. She has made memorable performances on screen as a wise hairdresser and harassing secretary. She even helped create Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Dolly Parton’s fans now attribute her salvation to the world from the coronavirus. This is an exaggerated statement to be sure. But for legions of fans, Ms. Parton’s donation this spring to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, which worked with drug maker Moderna to develop a coronavirus vaccine, was another example of how the singer̵

7;s generosity and charity became one of the most beloved artists in the world.

“Shakespeare may have written King Lear during the plague, but Dolly Parton funded the Covid vaccine, released a Christmas album and a Christmas special,” author Liz Lenz said on Twitter.

In April, Ms. Parton announced that she had donated $ 1 million to Vanderbilt after her friend Dr. Naji Abumrad, a professor of surgery at the University of Nashville, told her about the work researchers are doing to develop a vaccine. . Dr. Abumrad’s son, Jed Abumrad, is the creator of Radiolab and host of the Dolly Parton America podcast.

Her contribution, known as the Dolly Parton Kovid-19 Research Fund, helped pay for the first part of a vaccine study led by Dr. Mark Denison, a professor of pathology, microbiology and immunology at Vanderbilt. Eventually, the federal government invested $ 1 billion in the development and testing of the vaccine, but Dr. Denison said Ms. Parton’s money funded the “critical” early stages of the study.

“Her money helped us develop the test that initially showed that the Moderna vaccine gives people a good immune response that can protect them,” Dr. Denison said on Tuesday.

On Monday, after Moderna announced that early trials of the vaccine showed 94.5 percent effectiveness, fans reacted enthusiastically.

“I want everyone to know that Dolly Parton gave us the Buffy TV series, the song 9 to 5, Dollywood and, of course, the Covid vaccine,” a fan wrote on Twitter.

Ryan Cordell, an associate professor of English at Northeastern University in Boston, was filmed singing a song about the vaccine to a Jolin tune.

“Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, please, please, get in my hand,” he sings as he plays the guitar and describes the virus as “impossible to compare to the spicy bursts of brown hair that Covid that crown emerald green . ”

The texts were written by linguist Gretchen McCullock, author of “Because the Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language.”

She said she wrote the lyrics in part because the song “Jolin,” for which a woman begs another not to steal her husband, has “the same desperate feeling” that the pandemic instilled in so many people.

Ms. McCulloch now hopes Ms. Parton will release her own vaccine song, she said.

“If Dolly Parton wants to record PSA for a vaccine in Jolin’s tune,” she said, “I think everyone will be very happy. “

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