Dolly Parton pays tribute to 9 to 5 co-star and ‘dear friend’ Dabney Coleman after his death

Dolly Parton has paid tribute to her friend and 9 to 5 co-star Dabney Coleman following his death at the age of 92.

The Emmy-winning comedy actor, who died on 16 May, had credits in over 60 films and TV programmes, including the Dustin Hoffman cross-dressing comedy Tootsie, and the TV comedy Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.

Coleman was best known, however, for his role as the “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot” boss who bullied his female employees – played by Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Parton – in the hit 1980 film 9 to 5.

In a message on X/Twitter, country music legend Parton shared a message in honour of Coleman, whom she remembered as a “dear friend”.

“Dabney was a great actor and became a dear friend,” she wrote. “He taught me so much when I was doing my first movie, 9 to 5.

“He was funny, deep and smart. We remained friends through the years and I will miss him greatly as many people will.”

In addition to starring in 9 to 5, Parton also sang the theme song of the same name. She received an Academy Award nomination and four Grammy Award nominations, and winning Best Country Song and Best Country Vocal Performance for it.

Tomlin too shared her condolences on X, writing, “We just loved him.”

Coleman’s death prompted tributes from several other former collaborators, including Ben Stiller and Kevin Costner, who starred with Dabney in the TV western Yellowstone.

“The great Dabney Coleman literally created, or defined, really – in a uniquely singular way – an archetype as a character actor. He was so good at what he did it’s hard to imagine movies and television of the last 40 years without him,” wrote Stiller.

“One of the most heart-wrenching scenes I've been a part of,” wrote Costner, alongside a still from season two of Yellowstone. “What an honor to have gotten to work with Dabney Coleman. May he rest in peace.”

The actor’s death on Thursday (16 May) was confirmed by his daughter, Quincy Coleman.

“My father, Dabney Wharton Coleman, took his last earthly breath peacefully and exquisitely in his home on Thursday 16 May 2024 at 1:50 pm,” she said in a statement.

The stars of the movie
The stars of the movie "9 to 5", (L to R) Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Dabney Coleman reunite for the 8th Annual Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention gala June 9, 2003 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Getty Images)

“My father crafted his time here on Earth with a curious mind, a generous heart and a soul on fire with passion, desire and humor that tickled the funny bone of humanity. As he lived, he moved through this final act of life with elegance, excellence and mastery.”

She continued: “A teacher, a hero and a king, Dabney Coleman is a gift and blessing in life and in death as his spirit will shine through his work, his loved ones and his legacy... eternally.”