Queens of Country

updated 09/14/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/14/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Dolly Parton

Screen Queen: First female country singer to become a movie star (9 TO 5 in 1980).

No Dumb Blonde: Worth more than $100 million, the 48-year-old owns a theme park, production company, cosmetics line.

Steel Magnolia: Dolly has hinted in interviews that she and hubby of 28 years, Carl Dean, would tolerate discreet affairs: "I want to be an 80-year-old lady whose sex life they're still wondering about."

Barbara Mandrell

Do Right Woman: At age 12, Mandrell (center, with sisters Louise, left, and Irlene) toured on steel guitar with Johnny Gash.

Prime Time: NBC's BARBARA MANDRELL & THE MANDRELL SISTERS was a top-rated show, 1980-82.

Changes: "The old Barbara was more impulsive, more spontaneous," she said recently, reflecting on her near-fatal 1984 car crash. "Now I treasure each day as though it were my last."

Tammy Wynette

Heartbreak Hospital: The Tupelo, Miss., native, 52, has had surgery 19 times, kicked pain pills twice, and in 1978 was abducted and severely beaten by an unidentified attacker.

High Notes: 1968's "Stand By Your Man" was best-selling tune by a country female ever.

D-I-V-O-R-C-E: She survived four splits, including a painful parting from hubby No. 3, duet partner George Jones.

Honky-Tonk Heaven: With fifth husband George Richey, she shares Hank Williams's old eight-bedroom Nashville mansion.

Patsy Cline

Classic Country: "I Fall to Pieces" topped the country charts for 39 weeks in 1960. But she told top country producer Owen Bradley, "I didn't like that little song."

Crossover Queen: Singing "Walkin' After Midnight" on the Arthur Godfrey show in 1957 helped put her on jukebox, country and pop charts.

Staying Power: Though she was killed in a 1963 plane crash at age 30, in 1992 her GREATEST HITS went multiplatinum.

Echoes: Known for her loud laugh, she called everyone hoss.

The Judds

Bargain Bin: Kentucky-bred Wynonna (left), 30, and mother Naomi, 48, learned country harmony from a $1 LP by a pair called Hazel and Alice.

Girls' Night Out: By the time Naomi retired due to illness in 1991, the Judds had sold more than 15 million albums.

Don't Be Cruel: Before they gained a stable relationship, mother and daughter fought. "It was like tying two cats' tails together," Wynonna once said.

Love Is Alive: Her hepatitis in remission, Naomi lives near Nashville on a 200-acre farm called Peaceful Valley, down the road from Wynonna's spread.

Loretta Lynn

Mining Gold: The coal miner's daughter was the first woman named CMA Entertainer of the Year, in 1972. She has more solo CMA awards (eight) than any other female.

Down-Home Feminist: In songs like 1966's "Don't Come Home A-Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind)," she spoke for a woman's dignity and equality.

Homebody: Loretta, 58, and husband Mooney Lynn, who have 5 children (a sixth died) and 14 grandkids, hate to leave their Tennessee ranch. Says producer Bradley: "I'd call her, and she'd say, 'I can't record, I'm canning sausage.' "

Kitty Wells

Answer Lady: In 1952, Nashville-born Muriel Deason, then 33, became the first woman to have a No. 1 country single, "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels," an answer to Hank Thompson's "The Wild Side of Life." She became country's first major female star, paving the way for Cline, Lynn et al.

Name Game: Musician husband Johnny Wright named her after an old folk song, "Sweet Kitty Wells."

Showbiz Mom: Wells's son Bobby Wright starred on TV's McHALE'S NAVY.

Current Status: At 75, she still tours, despite an ulcer attack during a road performance last July. "As long as I'm able to get on the bus," she says, "we're going to keep traveling."

Emmylou Harris

Sweet Dreams: Credited with bringing folk-rock to country, Harris, 45, valedictorian and a cheerleader at Garfield High School in Alexandria, Va., once said she was "a 16-year-old WASP wanting to quit school and become Woody Guthrie."

Beautiful Bluegrass: Her 1980 ROSES IN THE SNOW album, wrote critic Bill Malone, countered the tide of country commercialism, recapturing "the simple, wholesome, melancholy beauty of old-time Appalachian music."

Cowgirl's Prayer: Proud of her long silver tresses, she has said, "If it encourages other women to say, 'I can do that too,' that's great. We earned those gray hairs!"

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