Basic Information About Jim Varney
|Category||Celebrities › Actors|
|Professions||Actor, Comedian, Writer, Voice Actor, Musician|
|Date of birth||1949-06-15|
|Place of birth||Lexington|
|Date of death||2000-02-10 (aged 50)|
|Nationality||United States of America|
|Curiosities and Trademarks||Raspy voice.|
Known for his Ernest P. Worrell character: a boufoonish redneck who ultimately redeems himself in the end
|Height||6 ft (1.85 m)|
|Social Media||↗︎ Wikipedia ↗︎ IMDb|
What Movie Awards did Jim Varney win?
Jim Varney awards
|Award Name||State||Movie / Series Name||Year|
|Razzie Award - Worst New Star||Nominee||Ernest Goes to Camp||1988|
Jim Varney roles
|Movie / Series||Role|
|Atlantis: The Lost Empire||Cookie (voice)|
|Toy Story||Slinky Dog (voice)|
|Toy Story 2||Slinky Dog (voice)|
|The Beverly Hillbillies||Jed Clampett|
|Ernest Goes to Camp||Ernest P. Worrell|
|The Simpsons||Cooder 1 episode, 1998|
|Hee Haw||Self 2 episodes, 1986|
|Roseanne||Prince Carlos 2 episodes, 1996|
|Hercules||Ephialtes 1 episode, 1998|
|The Tonight Show with Jay Leno||Self 1 episode, 1993|
|Duckman: Private Dick/Family Man||Walt Evergreen 1 episode, 1997|
|Operation Petticoat||Seaman 'Doom & Gloom' Broom / ... 33 episodes, 1977-1979|
Jim Varney's Quotes
- Life's just a bus stop to somewhere infinitely better.
- [On making Ernest Scared Stupid] I loved it. As a kid, anything that gave me nightmares I had to watch.
- I started to do a study on how not to do stand-up comedy. Yeah, it's lonely work. You die, you die alone. It's you, the light, and the audience. If you win, you win big. If you lose, you lose big time.
- I like to sing. I write music. Country songs. You have to if you're in Nashville. It's part of the lease. You sign a lease that says, I will write country songs and pay my rent on time.
- I'd like to do a piece of Shakespeare. Any upcoming Shakespeare film. Just a bit to say I did a classic.
The Legacy of Jim Varney in American Entertainment
Jim Varney’s career is a shining example of how far a performer can get with their natural talents, passion, and commitment. This American comedian, actor, musician, voice artist, and producer gave all that he had to the world of entertainment and he remains one of the most loved and respected personalities in the industry. His incredible talent and magnetic energy captivated audiences for decades.
Early Life and Education
Jim Varney was born in Lexington, Kentucky on June 15th, 1949. From an early age, he exhibited a tremendous appetite for performance art—all he needed was a captive audience. Growing up, Jim became infatuated with the cartoon programs that his mother showed him, and he would spend hours on end mimicking the characters and voices that he saw on television.
Seeing promise in her son, Jim’s mother enrolled him in a children’s theatre program at the age of eight. Later on, Jim attended Lafayette High School, where he would perform in stage productions and showcase his budding talent as a fantastic young performer. By the age of 17, he continued developing his talent further by performing professionally at coffee houses and nightclubs.
Jim’s true calling came when he studied Shakespeare at the famous Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Virginia. He later performed at the Pioneer Playhouse in Danville, Kentucky. These experiences gave him the necessary background as well as furnished him with an inherent sense of refinement—a quality that remained absent from actors churned out by studio systems. In those early times, Jim honed his craft by performing in Shakespearean productions such as “Blithe Casio” and “Innate Intuition.”
The Beginning of Jim Varney’s Career
Jim Varney’s career began in the late 70s, during which time he appeared on regular television shows. Jim first became recognizable for his work on ‘ Johnny Cash and Friends’, where he regularly shared the stage with famous luminaries such as Dolly Parton and Glen Campbell. In 1977, his remarkable talent caught the eye of producers and directors, and he scored a recurring role in the late-night talk show parody, ‘Fernwood 2 Night’ and the main role on the television series adaptation of ‘Operation Petticoat.’
The Breakthrough as Ernest
In 198, Jim Varney debuted his iconic character, Ernest P. Worrell for Beech Bend Park’s advertisement in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The addition of this character led to regional franchises and complete market dominance nation-wide. Due to the ubiquity of Ernest being used to advertise milk products, a best-selling children’s book titled “Ernest Goes to Camp” was soon released. Next came the spin-off children’s TV series ‘Hey Vern, It’s Ernest!’, which premiered in 1988. Jim Varney’s hard work paid off when he won a Daytime Emmy Award.
Personal Life and Death
Jim Varney lived in California in an area known as the Hollywood Hills. He was a heavy smoker throughout his life. Later his lung cancer was attributed to this addiction. Varney fought the disease through several rounds of chemotherapy which impacted his larynx’s effectiveness. He died on February 10, 200, in White House, Tennessee at the age of 50.
What was Jim Varney’s Net Worth?
Despite his passing at the age of just fifty, Jim Varney made an enormous impact on the world of entertainment— from comedy to music, voice overs, and television. It made him a household name in America and beyond. Jim had amassed a net worth of $12 million dollars, cementing his name as a true Hollywood heavyweight.
Varney’s Other Notable Credits
Jim Varney’s break-out role might have been in playing at Ernest’s P. Worrell, but it is worth remembering that he had many other notable credits across his lengthy career.
Rather than list them out, he is also known for voicing Slinky Dog in the “Toy Story” franchise. The film’s success was an impetus for Varney to expand his efforts for box-office hits with commercial promotions at the forefront of his work with Ernest. With them, he was able to migrate into various other venture possibilities.
Along with his fame for the Ernest series, Varney hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live and played plumbers in well- known ads showcasing “Roto-Rooter”. Additionally, he starred in other great movies such as “The Beverly Hiilbillies”,” Dr. Otto and “The Riddle of the Gloom Beam,” and many others.
Jim Varney will always be remembered as one of the supreme eras lest entertainers. His unique sense of humor left an indelible mark on our collective pop culture memories. Not only was Jim quirky, but he also had an undeniable charm that allowed him to connect to audiences seamlessly. When asked why folks like Vern and Ernest, he replied: ‘it’s just funny because it’s stupid.’ He knew we all needed a good laugh, and he provided that generously. Jim remains an inspiration to young performers watching him become an unlikely star that continued to shine even after he left us too soon.
Interesting Facts about Jim Varney
- Included in a 1986 home video collection of Ernest commercials is a public service spot with Ernest trying to convince "Vern" to quit smoking, thus avoiding "The Big 'C'-Cancer. Chemotherapy City."
- Was a heavy smoker off-camera and died of lung cancer at age 50.
- Jim Varney died at about 4:45 am February 10, 2000 at his White House, Tennessee home. His sisters and his niece and nephew Justin Lloyd were at his bed side when he died.
- Lived in Lexington, Kentucky while growing up, and graduated from Lafayette Senior High School with the class of 1968. He listed a former teacher, Thelma Beeler, as being one of the main contributing factors in his becoming an actor.
- His final movie, "Ernest the Pirate" (2000) had nearly completed shooting at the time of his death, but got canceled and was never released.
- Known to fans as Ernest P. Worrell, his most famous character, who propelled him to the public eye. Ernest appeared in commercials "alongside" his off-camera friend Vern. Ernest would address the camera as if it were Vern.
- Despite his persona as Ernest P. Worrell, he reportedly had a near genius I.Q. level. He was said to be occasionally exasperated with fans who met him and assumed he was exactly like the Worrell character he portrayed.
- When he discovered he had lung cancer in August 1998, he reportedly threw away his cigarettes and quit smoking--cold turkey. Unfortunately, it was too late.
- He used to do commercials for the Dodge dealership in Henderson, Kentucky, sitting in the Dodge Viper "high in the sky."
- As his Ernest P. Worrell persona, he did advertisements for the Southern California auto mall Cerritos Auto Square. After his death, commercials now feature a CGI Ernest.
- As Ernest, Jim Varney used to do Purity Dairy commercials which ran in Nashville, TN.
- One of the companies he portrayed his beloved character Earnest for was the Kroger grocery store chain. These aired mainly in Tennessee, parts of Mississippi, and Ohio, where Kroger chains are predominate.
- Between 1987 and 1990, Disney released four Ernest movies that generated a total of $100 million. Five more Ernest films were released independently, mainly for the video and television markets.
- The character of Ernest was actually introduced in a commercial for Bowling Green, Kentucky's Beech Bend Raceway Park.
- Along with Robin Williams, Varney was one of Los Angeles's Comedy Store's original alumni.
- Standup comedy launched his TV career. His first national appearance came at age 25, when he embarked on the talk show circuit, that included The Merv Griffin Show (1962) and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962).
- Studied Shakespeare at the Barter Theatre in Virginia and performed in a folk show during Opryland's first year of operation
- When given the chance to have a lifelong dream fulfilled by such groups as the Make-A-Wish Foundation, several hundred terminally ill children have asked to meet Ernest. He never let them down.
- Was very good friends with Robin Williams.
- Remained good friends with his second wife Jane after their divorce and she became his spokesperson later in life.