Jimmy Dean: One Hell of a Man

Happy birthday to Jimmy Dean, who gave the world some great music and wonderful food.

Mr. Dean was born on August 10, 1928 in the rural community of Plainview, Texas. His family suffered terrible poverty. His father once had to slaughter Jimmy’s pet goat to put food on the table.  His mom would sew together sugar sacks to make him school clothes.  Other kids made fun of him all the time because of his shoddy appearance. He used all the ridicule as motivation to prove that he was just as good as them.

His stepmom taught him how to play the piano, soon he began playing at church. He wouldthen serve in the Air Force in World War Two. When he got back from the war he set out to make it in show business, and signed with Columbia records.

He would have a series of country hits in the 1950’s.

His biggest hit would come in 1961: “Big Bad John.”

He also hosted radio and television shows in the 50s and 60s. On “The Jimmy Dean Show” in the early 1960s, he would have a young puppeteer regularly on his show named Jim Henson. Henson was so grateful to Dean, he offered to give him 40 percent of the Muppett franchise. Dean declined, saying he really didn’t do anything to earn it.

In 1969, Dean and his brother founded Jimmy Dean sausage. He would sell the company to Sara Lee in 1984 for $80 million, but would remain on as a spokesmen.  He would often say: “Sausage is a great deal like life. You get out of it what you put into it.”

He died in 2010. He is now entombed in a 9 foot tall piano shaped mausoleum.

Engraved on it:

“Here lies one hell of a man.”

Photo Credit: Digital Aperitif




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