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Jimmy Dean

Jimmy Dean

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To the country music novice, Jimmy Dean is just a name in the freezer section at the grocery store. But he is much more than a name on a box of pre-made sausage. He is a country music icon.

Jimmy Dean impacted pop culture in more ways than people give him credit. During his music career he scored two number ones, four top 20's, and frequently appeared on the charts throughout the 1960's and 70's. With hits like "Big Bad John" (the mother of all country story songs), which hit #1 on both pop and country charts in 1961, as well as "P.T. 109" and "The First Thing Ev'ry Morning (And The Last Thing Ev'ry Night)", Jimmy established himself as a true country music artist and entertainer. In the early 1960s, he would guest host on occasion The Tonight Show and during the mid-sixties he was the host of his very own popular variety show The Jimmy Dean Show. Aside from his well-known music hits, he also dabbled in acting over the years playing various characters on shows like Fantasy Island and Murder, She Wrote. Perhaps his most well known part was that of billionaire tycoon, Willard Whyte, in the 1971 James Bond movie, Diamonds Are Forever.

In 1969, Dean and his brother, Don, also founded the Jimmy Dean Sausage Company - a brand that is still one of the most popular in breakfast foods today. The company did well overall thanks to Jimmy's down-to-earth humor and nature as seen in many of the commercials he did for the company. Eventually the company was sold to Sara Lee but is still widely available today.

Jimmy spent the 1990s and 2000s in semi-retirement. He released an autobiography, married Donna Meade in 1991, and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame on February 23, 2010. Unfortunately, Jimmy Dean passed away at his home in Virginia on June 13,2010 at the age of 81. He will be greatly missed but his impact on our culture will be felt for many years to come.
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