Jimmy Dean: Country Music Hall-of-Famer and Sausage King Dies at 81-years-old

Jimmy Dean has been a household word for many years to people of all ages for many different reasons. Jimmy Dean’s sausage. Jimmy Dean, the country music star. Jimmy Dean, the TV host. Jimmy Dean, the actor. Jimmy Dean, the hall-of-famer.

According to CNN.com, Jimmy Dean, age 81, died Sunday of natural causes at him home in Virginia, with his wife, Donna, nearby.

ABCNews.com writes that Dean was inducted this earlier year into the Country Music Hall of Fame as a Veteran Artist who helped to bring country music to the mainstream public through early television. He was also the first country star to have a headliner show on the Strip in Las Vegas.

Jimmy Dean’s 1961 hit, “Big Bad John,” earned him a Grammy and a number one spot on both country and pop charts.

He also hosted his own television variety show on ABC for three years, and was an actor on NBC’s “Daniel Boone,” in the 1960s.

Variety shows were something I fondly remember as a young child and teenager, as my father was a member of a long-running television orchestra. So, I remember being introduced to many shows during those years as television was a popular medium.

I was six years of age when “Big Bad John” was a hit. I liked hearing the story he told throughout the song-he captured my attention. I also remember seeing my first Muppet, Rowlf, on his show. Oh, how I laughed watching this puppet playing the piano, not yet realizing that the dog wasn’t quite real.

I might very well have memories of Jimmy Dean Sausage commercials in the 1960s, because I’ve never purchased any other commercial brand bulk sausage. The sausage that bears his name is likely a staple for many Sunday morning breakfasts.

As a teenager, I learned that Dean and I shared the same birthday, August 10th. By that time, the Texas cowboy had lost his appeal with me, only to be replaced with much “cooler” artists. But now that I’ve entered middle age, I am remembering the things that made me smile as a child.

Though not always “cool,” Jimmy Dean’s homespun personality has earned him a place into the hearts of many over the years. And even those who never heard his music or saw his show, his business savvy likely brought his brand into your home.