Parton was diagnosed with Bell's Palsy, a condition that causes facial paralysis.
On June 10, 2019, the supermarket tabloid Globe published a story exclaiming that singer Dolly Parton was “paralyzed!”:
Despite the matter-of-fact nature of this clickbait headline, the story has numerous problems. Anyone who flipped past the sensational cover to read the contents of this article would have seen that the “expert diagnosis” was not provided by Parton’s personal physician but by someone who simply watched a video of the singer.
Here’s an excerpt from the report (emphasis ours):
“The muscles on the left side of her face are not functioning properly,” says Florida-based Dr. Gabe Mirkin, who has not treated Dolly, but reviewed video of the 73-year-old blond bombshell. “They aren’t moving and appear to be paralyzed!”
Mirkin thinks Dolly may have Bell’s palsy, a viral infection he believes paralyzed the muscles in her cheek near the left side of her mouth.
Surprisingly, this isn’t the biggest problem with the article’s claim.
The included picture appears to come from an interview Parton gave to “60 Minutes Australia” in 2013. Presumably, this is the same video that Mirkin reviewed to “diagnose” Parton with Bell’s Palsy. In other words, this “breaking news” is based on a piece of footage that is more than five years old. Since this interview, Parton has released a new album and toured North America.
Here’s a side-by-side graphic featuring the Globe photograph and a comparable still from the “60 Minutes Australia” interview. Notice how Parton is wearing the same earrings and same-colored dress in both images:
A Word to Our Loyal Readers
Support Snopes and make a difference for readers everywhere.
- David Mikkelson
- Doreen Marchionni
- David Emery
- Bond Huberman
- Jordan Liles
- Alex Kasprak
- Dan Evon
- Dan MacGuill
- Bethania Palma
- Liz Donaldson
- Vinny Green
- Ryan Miller
- Chris Reilly
- Chad Ort
- Elyssa Young
Most Snopes assignments begin when readers ask us, “Is this true?” Those tips launch our fact-checkers on sprints across a vast range of political, scientific, legal, historical, and visual information. We investigate as thoroughly and quickly as possible and relay what we learn. Then another question arrives, and the race starts again.
We do this work every day at no cost to you, but it is far from free to produce, and we cannot afford to slow down. To ensure Snopes endures — and grows to serve more readers — we need a different kind of tip: We need your financial support.
Support Snopes so we continue to pursue the facts — for you and anyone searching for answers.