Don Warden, who worked as Dolly Parton's manager and played steel guitar as a founding member of the Porter Wagoner Trio, has died. According to a tribute post from the entertainer on Parton's official website, Warden died on March 11th. He was 87.
A 2008 inductee into the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame, Warden was also a Grand Ole Opry member beginning in 1957. He first met Parton when the singer joined TV's Porter Wagoner Show in 1967. She would go to affectionately refer to him as "Mr. Everything." "He was like a father, a brother, a partner and one of my best friends," Parton writes. "I feel like a piece of my heart is missing today. Certainly a huge piece of my life is gone. Rest in peace Don and know for sure that I will always love you."
In 1974, Warden left the Porter Wagoner Show, the same year Parton famously departed the series and began her crossover success into pop music. His role as the singer's "Mr. Everything" would stretch over the next five decades, until health concerns led to his retirement. At 2008 concert at her Dollywood theme park, Parton honored him with the Angel Award, marking the last time the two would share a stage together.
Warden, who was born into a musical family in
In her 1994 autobiography, Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business, Parton wrote of Warden's influence: "Anybody who knows him – and he knows everybody – looks up to him. At one time there was even a T-shirt being sold around