BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – You may want to keep your Kleenex nearby.
NBC’s holiday movie about the early life of Dolly Parton will include emotional scenes depicting the death of the singer’s young brother.
Larry Parton passed away four days after his birth in July 1955, when the future country superstar was just 9.
“My mother, through the years, when we were born, since there were so many of us, used to say, 'This one is gonna be you baby.’” Parton told TV critics in Beverly Hills Thursday. “That just meant that you got to take extra care of it. You have got to get up with it at night and rock it back and forth. This particular baby that passed away in the movie was my baby.
“So there is a lot of heartache and stuff that goes on with that.”
The film — premiering in December — shows a young Parton (Alyvia Alyn Lind) sitting near the gravesite, singing a song inspired by her fallen sibling.
Reliving the tragedy was difficult for Parton.
“All things are hard, but that is what makes your memories. That is what makes you who and what you are.”
“A Coat of Many Colors” — which also stars Ricky Schroeder and Jennifer Nettles as Parton’s parents — is based on the star’s 1971 country hit.
Parton will supply voiceovers but will not appear on camera.
“This story has always meant the world to me and I have always wanted to do some television,” she said. "I was trying to think, ‘What would the people like to see?’”
She continued, “I think that they would like to see a little more about who you are and the people who make you who and what you are. So I just felt the 'Coat of Many Colors' would be the perfect vehicle because it is really almost like my life story, summed up.”
The carefully spun story, for which Parton also serves as executive producer, is not expected to include references to sibling discord — as described in sister Stella Parton’s book “Tell It Sister Tell It: Memories Music and Miracles”.
Parton is the fourth of twelve children born to Robert, a “poor but proud” tobacco farmer, and his wife, Avie Lee.
The family lived a reportedly simple life -- with beds made of straw and no basic running water — near the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in Tennessee.
Parton made her debut at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville at 13 and has been working ever since.
“I always keep saying I hope I die right in the middle of a song,” she said. “Hopefully one I wrote. Thirty years from now.”
She added, "I love what I do. I have no plans to retire. The only reason I would quit would be if my husband was ill or if I was ill and I needed to take care of him or I needed to take care of me.”
“So far, I have been lucky and blessed.”