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Jimmy Dean

Jimmy Dean

Overview
Jimmy Ray Dean was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 country music
Country music
Country music is a popular American musical style that began in the rural Southern United States in the 1920s. It takes its roots from Western cowboy and folk music...

 singer, television host, actor and businessman. Although he may be best known today as the creator of the Jimmy Dean sausage brand
Jimmy Dean (brand)
Jimmy Dean Foods is a food company that was founded in 1969 by the late country singer and actor Jimmy Dean who died in the summer of 2010. It was purchased by Consolidated Foods, later renamed Sara Lee Corporation.-History:...

, he became a national television personality starting in 1957, rising to fame for his 1961 country crossover hit "Big Bad John
Big Bad John
"Big Bad John" is a country song originally performed by Jimmy Dean and composed by Dean and Roy Acuff. Released in September 1961, by the beginning of November it went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and won Dean the 1962 Grammy Award for Best Country & Western Recording.The song and its...

" and his television series, The Jimmy Dean Show
The Jimmy Dean Show
The Jimmy Dean Show is the name of several similar music and variety series on American local and network television between 1957–75. Each starred country music singer Jimmy Dean as host.-Daytime:...

, which also gave puppeteer
Puppeteer
A puppeteer is a person who manipulates an inanimate object, such as a puppet, in real time to create the illusion of life. The puppeteer may be visible to or hidden from the audience. A puppeteer can operate a puppet indirectly by the use of strings, rods, wires, electronics or directly by his or...

 Jim Henson
Jim Henson
James Maury "Jim" Henson was an American puppeteer best known as the creator of The Muppets. As a puppeteer, Henson performed in various television programs, such as Sesame Street and The Muppet Show, films such as The Muppet Movie and The Great Muppet Caper, and created advanced puppets for...

 his first national media exposure. His acting career included a supporting role as Willard Whyte in the 1971 James Bond
James Bond
James Bond, code name 007, is a fictional character created in 1953 by writer Ian Fleming, who featured him in twelve novels and two short story collections. There have been a six other authors who wrote authorised Bond novels or novelizations after Fleming's death in 1964: Kingsley Amis,...

 movie, Diamonds Are Forever
Diamonds Are Forever (film)
Diamonds Are Forever is the seventh spy film in the Eon Productions James Bond series, and the sixth and final Eon Productions film to star Sean Connery as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. The film is based on Ian Fleming's 1956 novel of the same name, and is the second of four James Bond films...

.
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Encyclopedia
Jimmy Ray Dean was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 country music
Country music
Country music is a popular American musical style that began in the rural Southern United States in the 1920s. It takes its roots from Western cowboy and folk music...

 singer, television host, actor and businessman. Although he may be best known today as the creator of the Jimmy Dean sausage brand
Jimmy Dean (brand)
Jimmy Dean Foods is a food company that was founded in 1969 by the late country singer and actor Jimmy Dean who died in the summer of 2010. It was purchased by Consolidated Foods, later renamed Sara Lee Corporation.-History:...

, he became a national television personality starting in 1957, rising to fame for his 1961 country crossover hit "Big Bad John
Big Bad John
"Big Bad John" is a country song originally performed by Jimmy Dean and composed by Dean and Roy Acuff. Released in September 1961, by the beginning of November it went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and won Dean the 1962 Grammy Award for Best Country & Western Recording.The song and its...

" and his television series, The Jimmy Dean Show
The Jimmy Dean Show
The Jimmy Dean Show is the name of several similar music and variety series on American local and network television between 1957–75. Each starred country music singer Jimmy Dean as host.-Daytime:...

, which also gave puppeteer
Puppeteer
A puppeteer is a person who manipulates an inanimate object, such as a puppet, in real time to create the illusion of life. The puppeteer may be visible to or hidden from the audience. A puppeteer can operate a puppet indirectly by the use of strings, rods, wires, electronics or directly by his or...

 Jim Henson
Jim Henson
James Maury "Jim" Henson was an American puppeteer best known as the creator of The Muppets. As a puppeteer, Henson performed in various television programs, such as Sesame Street and The Muppet Show, films such as The Muppet Movie and The Great Muppet Caper, and created advanced puppets for...

 his first national media exposure. His acting career included a supporting role as Willard Whyte in the 1971 James Bond
James Bond
James Bond, code name 007, is a fictional character created in 1953 by writer Ian Fleming, who featured him in twelve novels and two short story collections. There have been a six other authors who wrote authorised Bond novels or novelizations after Fleming's death in 1964: Kingsley Amis,...

 movie, Diamonds Are Forever
Diamonds Are Forever (film)
Diamonds Are Forever is the seventh spy film in the Eon Productions James Bond series, and the sixth and final Eon Productions film to star Sean Connery as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. The film is based on Ian Fleming's 1956 novel of the same name, and is the second of four James Bond films...

. He lived near Richmond, Virginia
Richmond, Virginia
Richmond is the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the United States. It is an independent city and not part of any county. Richmond is the center of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Greater Richmond area...

 and was nominated for the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010, although he was formally inducted posthumously.

Early life


Dean was born in Plainview, Texas
Plainview, Texas
Plainview is a city in and the county seat of Hale County, Texas, United States. The population was 22,336 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Plainview is located at ....

, in 1928, the son of George Otto Dean and his second wife Ruth (née Taylor) Dean. He attributed his interest in music to the Seth Ward Baptist Church. He dropped out of high school and became a professional entertainer after a stint in the U.S. Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

 in the late 1940s. Dean was 22 and just starting in show business when he married his first wife Mary Sue in 1950.

Entertainment career


Dean had his first hit, "Bummin' Around", in 1953 on the 4 Star label, but had no other hits for the rest of the decade. He signed with Columbia Records
Columbia Records
Columbia Records is an American record label, owned by Japan's Sony Music Entertainment, operating under the Columbia Music Group with Aware Records. It was founded in 1888, evolving from an earlier enterprise, the American Graphophone Company — successor to the Volta Graphophone Company...

 in 1957.

In 1954, Dean hosted the popular Washington D.C. radio program Town and Country Time on WARL-AM
WAVA
WAVA and WAVA-FM are Religious formatted broadcast radio stations. Both stations are licensed to Arlington, Virginia and serve the Washington, D.C. Metro Area. Both WAVA and WAVA-FM, as well as sister station WWRC, are owned and operated by Salem Communications.-External links:*...

, and with his Texas Wildcats became popular in the Mid-Atlantic region. Patsy Cline
Patsy Cline
Patsy Cline , born Virginia Patterson Hensley in Gore, Virginia, was an American country music singer who enjoyed pop music crossover success during the era of the Nashville sound in the early 1960s...

 and Roy Clark
Roy Clark
Roy Linwood Clark is an American country music musician and performer. He is best known for hosting Hee Haw, a nationally televised country variety show, from 1969–1992. Clark has been an important and influential figure in country music, both as a performer and helping to popularize the genre...

 got their starts on the show. Although Cline and Dean became good friends; Clark, Dean's lead guitarist, was eventually fired by the singer for what was explained as his chronic tardiness. Dean replaced Clark with Billy Grammer
Billy Grammer
Billy Wayne Grammer was an American country music singer and noted guitar player. He was known for the million-selling "Gotta Travel On", which made it onto both the country and pop music charts in 1959.-Biography:...

. In 1955, Town and Country Time moved to WMAL-TV
WJLA-TV
WJLA-TV, channel 7, is the ABC affiliated television station in Washington, D.C.. It is the flagship station of the Allbritton Communications Company, which also operates local cable station NewsChannel 8. The two stations share broadcast facilities in the Rosslyn section of Arlington, Virginia...

 on weekday afternoons. Dean and the Texas Wildcats also appeared during 1957 on Town and Country Jamboree on WMAL-TV on Saturdays from 10:30 p.m.–1:30 a.m. ET, which was also carried by TV stations in Maryland and Virginia on a regional network.

Also during 1957, Dean hosted Country Style on WTOP-TV
WUSA (TV)
WUSA is a television station broadcasting on channel 9 in Washington, D.C.. Owned by the Gannett Company, WUSA is an affiliate of the CBS television network, and the longest-tenured affiliate of that network...

 on weekday mornings. CBS
CBS
CBS Broadcasting Inc. is a major US commercial broadcasting television network, which started as a radio network. The name is derived from the initials of the network's former name, Columbia Broadcasting System. The network is sometimes referred to as the "Eye Network" in reference to the shape of...

 picked up the show nationally from Washington for eight months in 1957 under the name, The Morning Show. Then from September 14, 1958–June 1959, CBS carried The Jimmy Dean Show on weekday and Saturday afternoons.

Dean became best known for his 1961 recitation song about a heroic miner, "Big Bad John
Big Bad John
"Big Bad John" is a country song originally performed by Jimmy Dean and composed by Dean and Roy Acuff. Released in September 1961, by the beginning of November it went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and won Dean the 1962 Grammy Award for Best Country & Western Recording.The song and its...

". Recorded in Nashville, the record went to number one on the Billboard pop chart and inspired many imitations and parodies. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc
Music recording sales certification
Music recording sales certification is a system of certifying that a music recording has shipped or sold a certain number of copies, where the threshold quantity varies by type and by nation or territory .Almost all countries follow variations of the RIAA certification categories,...

. The track peaked at No. 2 in the UK Singles Chart
UK Singles Chart
The UK Singles Chart is compiled by The Official Charts Company on behalf of the British record-industry. The full chart contains the top selling 200 singles in the United Kingdom based upon combined record sales and download numbers, though some media outlets only list the Top 40 or the Top 75 ...

. The song won Dean the 1962 Grammy Award for Best Country & Western Recording
Grammy Award for Best Country & Western Recording
The Grammy Award for Best Country & Western Recording was awarded from 1959 to 1968. From 1959 to 1961 the award was presented as the Grammy Award for Best Country & Western Performance...

. He had several more Top 40 songs including a Top 10 in 1962 with "PT-109
PT-109 (song)
PT-109 was a song by Jimmy Dean about the adventures of John F. Kennedy and the crew of the PT-109. The boat was famous even before Kennedy ran for office because it was cut in two after being rammed by a Japanese destroyer, after which came a survival story, and rescue by native islanders Biuku...

", a song in honor of John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

's bravery in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

.

In the early 1960s, he hosted the Tonight Show
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson is a talk show hosted by Johnny Carson under the Tonight Show franchise from 1962 to 1992. It originally aired during late-night....

on occasion and one night introduced Roy Clark, with whom he had remained friendly. In the mid-60s, Dean helped bring country music into the mainstream with his 1963–66 ABC-TV
American Broadcasting Company
The American Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network. Created in 1943 from the former NBC Blue radio network, ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group. Its first broadcast on television was in 1948...

 variety series
Variety show
A variety show, also known as variety arts or variety entertainment, is an entertainment made up of a variety of acts, especially musical performances and sketch comedy, and normally introduced by a compère or host. Other types of acts include magic, animal and circus acts, acrobatics, juggling...

, The Jimmy Dean Show
The Jimmy Dean Show
The Jimmy Dean Show is the name of several similar music and variety series on American local and network television between 1957–75. Each starred country music singer Jimmy Dean as host.-Daytime:...

. It presented country music entertainers including Roger Miller
Roger Miller
Roger Dean Miller was an American singer, songwriter, musician and actor, best known for his honky tonk-influenced novelty songs...

, George Jones
George Jones
George Glenn Jones is an American country music singer known for his long list of hit records, his distinctive voice and phrasing, and his marriage to Tammy Wynette....

, Charlie Rich
Charlie Rich
Charles Rich was an American country music singer and musician. A Grammy Award winner, his eclectic-style of music was often hard to classify in a single genre, playing in the rockabilly, jazz, blues, country, and gospel genres.In the latter part of his life, Rich acquired the nickname The Silver...

, Buck Owens
Buck Owens
Alvis Edgar Owens, Jr. , better known as Buck Owens, was an American singer and guitarist who had 21 No. 1 hits on the Billboard country music charts with his band, the Buckaroos...

 and some, like Joe Maphis
Joe Maphis
Joe Maphis, born Otis W. Maphis , was an American country music guitarist. He married singer Rose Lee Maphis in 1948....

, who seldom received network exposure. The program also featured comedy and a variety of popular music artists, and Dean's sketches with one of Jim Henson
Jim Henson
James Maury "Jim" Henson was an American puppeteer best known as the creator of The Muppets. As a puppeteer, Henson performed in various television programs, such as Sesame Street and The Muppet Show, films such as The Muppet Movie and The Great Muppet Caper, and created advanced puppets for...

's Muppets, Rowlf the Dog
Rowlf the Dog
Rowlf the Dog is a Muppet character, a scruffy brown dog of indeterminate breed with a rounded black nose and long floppy ears. He was created by Jim Henson....

. Henson was so grateful for this break that he offered Dean a 40 percent interest in his production company, but Dean declined on the basis that he did nothing to truly earn it and Henson deserved all the rewards for his own work.

Dean appeared on several TV talk shows and game shows in the 1960s and performed on variety programs including The Ed Sullivan Show
The Ed Sullivan Show
The Ed Sullivan Show is an American TV variety show that originally ran on CBS from Sunday June 20, 1948 to Sunday June 6, 1971, and was hosted by New York entertainment columnist Ed Sullivan....

, The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom
The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom
The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom is a half-hour variety show that aired on ABC from October 3, 1957 to June 23, 1960, starring the young singer Pat Boone and a host of top-name guest stars. The program was of course sponsored by Chevrolet...

, and The Hollywood Palace
The Hollywood Palace
The Hollywood Palace is an hour-long American television variety show that was broadcast weekly on ABC from January 4, 1964 to February 7, 1970. It began as a mid-season replacement for the short-lived Jerry Lewis Show, another variety show which had lasted only three months...

.

Dean turned to acting after his TV show ended in 1966. His best-known role was as reclusive Las Vegas billionaire Willard Whyte in the 1971 James Bond
James Bond
James Bond, code name 007, is a fictional character created in 1953 by writer Ian Fleming, who featured him in twelve novels and two short story collections. There have been a six other authors who wrote authorised Bond novels or novelizations after Fleming's death in 1964: Kingsley Amis,...

 movie, Diamonds Are Forever
Diamonds Are Forever (film)
Diamonds Are Forever is the seventh spy film in the Eon Productions James Bond series, and the sixth and final Eon Productions film to star Sean Connery as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. The film is based on Ian Fleming's 1956 novel of the same name, and is the second of four James Bond films...

. He also appeared in fourteen episodes of Daniel Boone
Daniel Boone (TV series)
Daniel Boone is an American action/adventure television series starring Fess Parker as Daniel Boone that aired from September 24, 1964 to September 10, 1970 on NBC for 165 episodes, and was made by 20th Century Fox Television. Ed Ames co-starred as Mingo, Boone's Native American friend, for the...

(1967–70) in three different roles (one episode as "Delo Jones", two as "Jeremiah" and eleven as "Josh Clements") and as Charlie Rowlands in two Fantasy Island
Fantasy Island
Fantasy Island is the title of two separate but related American fantasy television series, both originally airing on the ABC television network.-Original series:...

episodes (1981–82), as well as on other TV shows including a semi-regular role as Charlie Bullets on J.J. Starbuck
J.J. Starbuck
J.J. Starbuck was a short lived NBC series about a cornpone-spouting J.J. Starbuck, a Texan millionaire who wears ten-gallon hats, cowboy boots and fancy western shirts...

starring Dale Robertson
Dale Robertson
Dayle Lymoine "Dale" Robertson is an American actor best known for his starring roles on television. He played the role of Jim Hardie in the TV series, Tales of Wells Fargo, and the owner of an incomplete railroad line in ABC's The Iron Horse, often appearing as the deceptively thoughtful but...

 (1987–88).

Dean's singing career remained strong into the mid-1960s; in 1965, he achieved a second number one country hit with the ballad "The First Thing Ev'ry Morning (And the Last Thing Ev'ry Night)
The First Thing Ev'ry Morning (And the Last Thing Ev'ry Night)
"The First Thing Ev'ry Morning " is a song co-written by Jimmy Dean and Ruth Roberts. Dean recorded a single of the song in 1965, and it was Dean's second and final number one on the U.S. country singles chart, spending two weeks at number one and a total of sixteen weeks on the chart.-Chart...

", and he had a Top 40 hit that year with "Harvest Of Sunshine". In 1966, Dean signed with RCA Records
RCA Records
RCA Records is one of the flagship labels of Sony Music Entertainment. The RCA initials stand for Radio Corporation of America , which was the parent corporation from 1929 to 1985 and a partner from 1985 to 1986.RCA's Canadian unit is Sony's oldest label...

 and immediately had a Top 10 hit with "Stand Beside Me". His other major hits during this time included "Sweet Misery" (1967) and "A Thing Called Love" (1968). He continued charting into the early 1970s with his major hits including a duet with Dottie West
Dottie West
Dottie West was an American country music singer and songwriter. Along with her friends and co-recording artists Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn, she is considered one of the genre's most influential and groundbreaking female artists...

, "Slowly" (1971); and a solo hit with "The One You Say Good Morning To" (1972).

In 1976, Dean achieved a million-seller with a recitation song
Recitation song
A recitation song or "recitation" as it is more commonly called, is a spoken narrative to music, generally with a sentimental theme. Such numbers were quite popular in country music from the 1930s into the 1960s although few in number...

 as a tribute to his mother and mothers everywhere called "I.O.U." The song was released a few weeks before Mother's Day
Mother's Day
Mother's Day is a celebration honoring mothers and celebrating motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society. It is celebrated on various days in many parts of the world, yet most commonly in March, April, or May...

 and quickly became a Top 10 country hit, his first one in a decade, and a Top 40 pop hit, his first in 14 years. The song was re-released in 1977, 1983 and 1984, but with minor success each time.

Business career


In 1969, he founded the Jimmy Dean Sausage Company
Jimmy Dean (brand)
Jimmy Dean Foods is a food company that was founded in 1969 by the late country singer and actor Jimmy Dean who died in the summer of 2010. It was purchased by Consolidated Foods, later renamed Sara Lee Corporation.-History:...

 with his brother Don. The company did well, in part because of Dean's own extemporized, humor-themed commercials.

Its success led to its acquisition in 1984 by Consolidated Foods, later renamed the Sara Lee Corporation. Dean remained involved in running the company, but the new corporate parent eventually began phasing him out of any management duties, a period that took a toll on his health. In January 2004, Dean said that Sara Lee had dropped him as the spokesman for the sausage brand, saying that he was too old.

Later years and death


A Virginia resident since 1990, Dean was inducted into the Virginia Country Music Hall of Fame in 1997. Former Virginia governor
Governor of Virginia
The governor of Virginia serves as the chief executive of the Commonwealth of Virginia for a four-year term. The position is currently held by Republican Bob McDonnell, who was inaugurated on January 16, 2010, as the 71st governor of Virginia....

 Jim Gilmore
Jim Gilmore
James Stuart "Jim" Gilmore III is an American politician from the Commonwealth of Virginia, former 68th Governor of Virginia, and a member of the Republican Party. A native Virginian, Gilmore studied at the University of Virginia, and then served in the U.S. Army as a counterintelligence agent...

 appointed Dean to the Virginia Board of Game and Inland Fisheries
Virginia Board of Game and Inland Fisheries
The Virginia Board of Game and Inland Fisheries oversees the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.-Membership:...

, which oversees the state's wildlife efforts and boating laws.

In the fall of 2004, he released his blunt, straight-talking autobiography
Autobiography
An autobiography is a book about the life of a person, written by that person.-Origin of the term:...

 30 Years of Sausage, 50 Years of Ham. Dean lived in semi-retirement with second wife, Donna Meade Dean, a singer, songwriter, and recording artist he married in 1991, who helped him write his book. The couple lived on their property at Chaffin's Bluff
Chaffin's Bluff
Chaffin's Bluff is located in Henrico County, Virginia, United States, along the James River. Chaffin's Bluff on the north side of the river opposite Drewry's Bluff, long-considered a major defense point of the river below Richmond...

 overlooking the James River
James River (Virginia)
The James River is a river in the U.S. state of Virginia. It is long, extending to if one includes the Jackson River, the longer of its two source tributaries. The James River drains a catchment comprising . The watershed includes about 4% open water and an area with a population of 2.5 million...

 in Henrico County, on the outskirts of Richmond, Virginia. On April 20, 2009, the main house was largely gutted by a fire, although the Deans escaped injury. The Deans rebuilt their home on the same foundation and returned early in 2010.

Dean, who dropped out of high school in 1946 to work to help his mother, announced on May 20, 2008, a donation of $1 million to Wayland Baptist University
Wayland Baptist University
Wayland Baptist University is private, coeducational Baptist university based in Plainview, Texas, U.S.A. Wayland Baptist has a total of fourteen campuses in four additional Texas cities, five other states, and the country of Kenya. On August 31, 1908, the university was chartered by the state of...

 in Plainview, the largest gift ever from one individual to the institution. Dean said: "I've been so blessed, and it makes me proud to give back, especially to my hometown."

On February 23, 2010, Dean was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. He was to have been inducted in October.

Dean had three children, Garry, Connie, and Robert, with his first wife Mary Sue (née Wittauer) Dean; and two granddaughters, Caroline Taylor (Connie's daughter) and Brianna Dean (Robert's daughter).

Dean died at the age of 81, on June 13, 2010, of natural causes
Death by natural causes
A death by natural causes, as recorded by coroners and on death certificates and associated documents, is one that is primarily attributed to natural agents: usually an illness or an internal malfunction of the body. For example, a person dying from complications from influenza or a heart attack ...

 at his home in Varina
Varina, Virginia
Varina is a former unincorporated town and current magisterial district in the easternmost portion of Henrico County, Virginia, United States....

, Virginia. He is also survived by his second wife Donna and his nephew, country music singer Billy Dean
Billy Dean
William Harold "Billy" Dean, Jr. is an American country music singer and songwriter. Billy Dean first gained national attention after appearing on the television talent competition Star Search...

.

He was entombed in a 9 feet (2.7 m) piano-shaped mausoleum
Mausoleum
A mausoleum is an external free-standing building constructed as a monument enclosing the interment space or burial chamber of a deceased person or persons. A monument without the interment is a cenotaph. A mausoleum may be considered a type of tomb or the tomb may be considered to be within the...

 overlooking the James River
James River
The James River may refer to:Rivers in the United States and their namesakes* James River * James River , North Dakota, South Dakota* James River * James River * James River...

on the grounds of his estate. His epitaph reads "Here Lies One Hell of a Man".

External links