Tribute to Jimmy Dean

Jimmy Dean was a man of many talents. He graced television screens with a talk show and gained a loyal following with his country hits. He also had his own meat company and became a household name across America. On Sunday, 13 June 2010, Jimmy Dean passed away at his home at the age of 81. His legacy will, however, live on forever, as fans, family, friends and the music industry mourn the loss of a loved one and undisputed legend.

Growing up on a farm, Jimmy Dean was always eager to help, but his mother kept pushing him to strive for higher goals and go further. This led to Dean leaving school at the age of sixteen and joining the merchant marines. He went on to the Air Force and while stationed at the Bolling Air Force Base, Dean made use of his musical background in a bar near the base. This was to be the start of a long and successful music career. In 1953 he recorded his first song, which was Bumming Around, but found the spotlight and fame in 1961 with his biggest hit ever, Big Bad John. The Jimmy Dean Show was broadcast to homes across the country from 1963 to 1966, and many performers and shows, such as The Muppet Show, also found their road to stardom on the show. The Jimmy Dean Meat Company was established in 1969, and Dean was the voice behind the advertisements. His voice was so synonymous with the brand that Sara Lee kept him on as a spokesman till the year 2003 after they bought the company from Dean in 1984.

Dean also had the opportunity to star in a number of movies and took up recurring roles in various television series, such as Diamonds Are Forever, Daniel Boone and the well known J.J. Starbuck. He managed to launch a variety of music careers while he was a disc jockey, and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. His passing came as a shock to family and friends, who stated that even though Dean was struggling with health problems, he was still able to function normally. Jimmy Dean is survived by his three children from his first marriage to Sue Wittauer, two grand children and his second wife, Donna Meade Dean.