You Can Thank Dolly Parton for Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

by Louisa Mellor

In 1997, the year Buffy the Vampire Slayer made its television debut, Dolly Parton was asked by Paper Magazine about the extent of her fortune. “With all my companies and all the businesses,” Parton answered, “I’m not quite sure how much I’m worth, but all told I guess it’s quite a bit.”

Parton guessed right. Savvy investments have amassed the singer/actress/entrepreneur a tidy sum. (Today, Parton is estimated to be worth an even tidier $500 million). One such investment was in Sandollar, a television and film production company Parton founded in 1986 with Sandy Gallin, her former manager, roommate, and business partner.

In the early 1990s, Sandollar president and CEO Gail Berman read Joss Whedon’s screenplay for the 1992 Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie when Sandollar became its distributor. She immediately saw its potential as a TV show and set about acquiring its television rights.

Because the film wasn't a hit, it took the success of 1995's Clueless, which Berman thought shared tonal similarities with Whedon’s original movie script, for her to start pursuing the idea of a Buffy TV show in earnest. Berman contacted Whedon, who was by then writing movies—including Toy Story and Alien: Resurrection—but agreed to come back to television to run the show. Seven seasons and one spinoff later, the rest was TV history.

Writing the checks all the while was Sandollar Television, the small-screen arm of Parton and Gallin’s production company. Sandollar co-produced Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spinoff, Angel, with Whedon’s company, Mutant Enemy. Berman and Gallin were listed as executive producers on both shows, while Parton’s name stayed out of the credits.

Without Parton’s cash though, Buffy Summers may never have made it to television. For that, fans will always be grateful. Perhaps that gratitude also explains why the fictional vampire slayer shares a birthday—January 19—with the world-famous country singer?

Harry Potter Cast Remembers the Late Alan Rickman

© 2009 - Warner Bros.
© 2009 - Warner Bros.

The world lost some of its most iconic celebrities in 2016, including ​Carrie Fisher and David Bowie. For ​Harry Potterfans, the January 14, 2016 death of ​Alan Rickman hit hard. Unsurprisingly, his castmates were also deeply impacted by the actor's death and have spoken out several times over the years about the magic he brought to the set.

"Alan Rickman is undoubtedly one of the greatest actors I will ever work with," ​Daniel Radcliffe wrote about Rickman a couple months after his death. "He is also, one of the loyalest and most supportive people I've ever met in the film industry."

Over two years later, the cast of Harry Potter is ​remembering Rickman to Entertainment Weekly.

Both ​Evanna Lynch, who played Luna Lovegood, and director Chris Columbus remember Rickman for being stoic on the outside, but very sweet on the inside.

"You’re thinking, it’s the guy from Die Hard and going, 'Oh my god.' If he’s in a serious mood, he’s intimidating as hell. But suddenly I had dinner with him ... and when he smiled, he just became the warmest, nicest human being in the world," Columbus said.

"Alan Rickman, pretty much every day of filming, he had a whole troop of little children [visiting]," Lynch remembered. "It was the most bizarre scene to see Snape in this black robe ... surrounded by all these happy little children who were just chatting away to him.”

Oliver Phelps and Warwick Davis recalled Rickman's affinity for iPods.

“I remember once he’d come back from an awards show ... and in the gift box was an iPod, when they’d first come about," Phelps said. "I remember being next to him ... and I ended up showing Alan how to work an iPod, which was not what I thought I’d ever do in my life. He was a very approachable guy once you saw past Snape’s wig."

"I started to wonder, what does Alan Rickman as Professor Snape listen to on his iPod?" Davis stated. "An audiobook? Some Shakespeare? Some classical music? Some techno beats? I don’t know. I never did ask
him, and I wish I had. I’d love to have known.”

​​Rickman's final role was in Alice Through the Looking Glass.

Game of Thrones Star Sean Bean Talks Reprising Ned Stark Role for Prequel Series

Nick Briggs, HBO
Nick Briggs, HBO

Former ​​Game of Thrones star Sean Bean had a brief run on the show before his character, Ned Stark, literally lost his head.

During a recent interview with ​The Hollywood Reporter, Bean shared his take on whether he'd be willing to reprise his role for the Game of Thrones prequel series. Since next year's eighth season will also be the ​series' final season, fans are eager to get their fix through the prequel series, which is set to start filming next year.

When Bean was asked if he'd consider being a part of the prequel, he said, "I don't know how we can be ... I don't know how anyone can be, since they're going backwards, I'd be younger. Now, we all look a little bit older."

Before you get your hopes up and put all of your faith in the magic of digital editing, which could potentially make Bean appear younger, the actor appears to have doubts about reprising his role in general. He shared:

"I'm always a bit reluctant to go back to shows under a different format or guise ... But you never know with something like this, it just depends on the time frames ... I think if the quality was maintained. You know, the kind of thought behind it, if it didn't look as though it was an add-on just to capitalize on earlier success."

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