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Jim Varney

Jim Varney

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The Rousters DVD Jim Varney plays Wyatt Earp's bungling grandson in the boisterous comedy "The... more info $24.95was $24.95 Buy Now

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Also Known As: Died: February 10, 2000
Born: June 15, 1949 Cause of Death: lung cancer
Birth Place: Lexington, Kentucky, USA Profession: actor, comic

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Lanky comic performer of TV and film with a prominent nose, best known for his portrayal of the dimwitted Southern nuisance, Ernest P. Worrell. Varney's signature character first appeared in commercials in 1980 and eventually graduated to star status in features and a children's TV program. Varney began as a stand-up comedian while auditioning for off-Broadway roles. In the early 70s, he starred for five years as Sgt. Glory in a series of Southern Dairy commercials. His first big break came when cast as a regular in the variety series, "Johnny Cash and Friends" (1976). He next appeared in a succession of short-lived TV shows: "Operation Petticoat" (1977), "The New Operation Petticoat" (1978), "America 2-night" (1978), "Pink Lady" (1980), and "The Rousters" (1983).With the success of the Ernest TV commercials, Varney moved the character to features with "Ernest Goes to Camp" (1987), the first in a series of amiably stupid features (i.e., "Ernest Saves Christmas" 1988; "Ernest Goes to School" 1994; "Ernest in the Army" 1998). He received his highest profile film role as Jed Clampett, a newly rich "poor mountaineer who barely kept his family fed", in the hit comedy "The Beverly Hillbillies" (1993),...

Lanky comic performer of TV and film with a prominent nose, best known for his portrayal of the dimwitted Southern nuisance, Ernest P. Worrell. Varney's signature character first appeared in commercials in 1980 and eventually graduated to star status in features and a children's TV program. Varney began as a stand-up comedian while auditioning for off-Broadway roles. In the early 70s, he starred for five years as Sgt. Glory in a series of Southern Dairy commercials. His first big break came when cast as a regular in the variety series, "Johnny Cash and Friends" (1976). He next appeared in a succession of short-lived TV shows: "Operation Petticoat" (1977), "The New Operation Petticoat" (1978), "America 2-night" (1978), "Pink Lady" (1980), and "The Rousters" (1983).

With the success of the Ernest TV commercials, Varney moved the character to features with "Ernest Goes to Camp" (1987), the first in a series of amiably stupid features (i.e., "Ernest Saves Christmas" 1988; "Ernest Goes to School" 1994; "Ernest in the Army" 1998). He received his highest profile film role as Jed Clampett, a newly rich "poor mountaineer who barely kept his family fed", in the hit comedy "The Beverly Hillbillies" (1993), based on the fondly remembered 1960s TV sitcom. Varney also entertained children of all ages by providing the vocals for Slinky Dog in the computer animated "Toy Story" (1995) and its sequel "Toy Story 2" (1999). During the promotional tour for the latter, questions over the actor's radical change of appearance led to his disclosing a year-long battle with lung cancer. In September 1998, Varney under went surgery to remove most of his right lung followed by aggressive radiation therapy.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Atlantis: the Lost Empire (2001) Voice Of Jebidiah Allardyce 'Cookie' Farnsworth
2.
 Daddy and Them (2001) Uncle Hazel
3.
4.
 Existo (1999) Marcel Horowitz
5.
 Toy Story 2 (1999) Voice Of Slinky Dog
6.
7.
 Annabelle's Wish (1997) Voice Of Holder
8.
9.
10.
 Ernest in the Army (1997) Ernest P Worrell
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1958:
Began acting in local theater at age eight (date approximate)
1965:
Played first professional acting role, as Puck in a regional production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
:
Completed an acting apprenticeship with the Barter Theatre
1967:
Moved to New York City with $65 dollars
:
Worked as a stand-up comedian
:
Appeared in dinner theater productions of "Death of a Salesman", "The Homecoming" and "Guys and Dolls"
:
Appeared in the Southern Dairy ad campaign as Sgt. Glory for five years
1972:
Introduced signature character of Ernest P Worell in TV commercials
1976:
TV series debut, "Johnny Cash and Friends"
1977:
Co-starred in the TV series, "Operation Petticoat" and "The New Operation Petticoat"
1978:
Appeared in the "Fernwood Tonight" spinoff, "America Tonight"
1980:
Played a regular character on the short-lived series, "Pink Lady"
1980:
First appeared in commercials as the character Ernest P. Worrell
1983:
Co-starred in the ill-fated series, "The Rousters"
1986:
Feature acting debut, "Dr. Otto and the Riddle of the Gloom Beam"
1987:
First feature in a leading role, "Ernest Goes to Camp", as Ernest P Worrell
1988:
Starred in the children's TV series, "Hey Vern, It's Ernest"
1988:
Reprised signature role in "Ernest Saves Christmas"
1993:
First film in a lead role other than Ernest, "The Beverly Hillbillies"
1995:
Provided voice of Slinky Dog in the computer-generated animated film "Toy Story"
1998:
Diagnosed with lung cancer; in September underwent surgery to remove two-thirds of right lung; followed up with radiation treatment
1999:
Publicly disclosed battle with cancer (November)
1999:
Reprised vocal role as Slinky Dog in the sequel "Toy Story 2"
2001:
Final screen role in "Daddy and Them" (filmed in 1998), directed by Billy Bob Thornton; screened at Montreal; released theatrically in 2002
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Education

Lafayette High School: Lexington , Kentucky -
Barter Theater: Abingdon , Virginia -

Notes

"Ernest is a neighbor or relative that we've all had at one time. He's abrasive, but he doesn't mean to be. He gets excited and ends up standing on your toes. I try to make him clownish and I don't want him too low key; and he's physically funny." --Jim Varney

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Jane Varney. Divorced; his former wife acts as his spokesperson.

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