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Jim Varney
Birth: Jun. 15, 1949
Lexington
Fayette County
Kentucky, USA
Death: Feb. 10, 2000
White House
Sumner County
Tennessee, USA

Actor. A comic figure, he is fondly remembered for his role of 'Ernest P. Worrel' in the various "Ernest" movies from 1983 to 1998 as well as in numerous TV commercials. Born James Albert Varney, Jr. he displayed as a child, the ability to memorize long poems and significant portions of material from books, which he used to entertain family and friends. His mother discovered that he quickly began to imitate the cartoon characters and she enrolled him in children's theater when he was 8 years old. He continued his interest in theater as a teenager, winning state titles in drama competitions while a student in high school. At the age of 15, he portrayed 'Ebenezer Scrooge' in a local theater production, and by 17 he was performing professionally in nightclubs and coffee houses. After graduating from Lafayette High School in Lexington, Kentucky, he studied Shakespeare at the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Virginia and performed in an Opryland folk show its first year of operation in the 1970s and was also an actor at the Pioneer Playhouse in Danville, Kentucky. In 1976 he was a regular cast member of the television show "Johnny Cash and Friends." The following year he played a recurring guest on the late-night talk show "Fernwood 2 Night." From 1977 until 1979 he was cast as 'Seaman "Doom & Gloom" Broom' in the ABC television series version of "Operation Petticoat," followed in 1980 as a cast member on the notorious NBC television variety show flop "Pink Lady and Jeff." In 1980 he began doing commercials as the characters 'Ernest', 'Sgt. Glory', and 'Aunite Nelda' in different parts of the US. From 1983 to 1984 he played actor Chad Everett's younger brother 'Evan Earp' in the short-lived NBC comedy-drama, high-action television series, "The Rousters," about the descendants of Wyatt Earp, a family of bounty hunters and carnival bouncers. His 'Ernest' character became so popular that in 1988 it was spun off into the CBS television children's series, "Hey Vern, It's Ernest!" followed by a series of movies in the 1980s and 1990s. "Ernest Goes to Camp" (1987) garnered him a nomination for "Worst New Star" at the 1987 Golden Raspberry Awards, but the movie was a huge hit. He also starred as 'Ernest' in several smaller movies, such as "Knowhutimean? Hey Vern, It's My Family Album" (1983) and "Dr. Otto and the Riddle of the Gloom Beam" (1986), all of which showcased his great facility with assuming a wide variety of characters and accents. In 1985 he co-hosted HBO's New Year's Eve special, along with Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson. He played a lead role as 'Jed Clampett' in the 1993 production of "The Beverly Hillbillies." He also lent his voice to 'Slinky Dog' in the Walt Disney films "Toy Story 1" (1995) and "Toy Story 2" (1999). In 1998, after filming "Treehouse Hostage" (1999), he developed a severe cough and was diagnosed with lung cancer, and he returned to Tennessee to begin chemotherapy treatment. His final movie appearances were in Billy Bob Thornton's "Daddy and Them" and "Atlantis: The Lost Empire" (both 2001), released the year following his death from lung cancer at the age of 50. During his career, he appeared in over 30 films. (bio by: William Bjornstad) 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  James Albert Varney (1910 - 1985)
  Nancy Louise Howard Varney (1913 - 1994)

Cause of death: Lung cancer
 
Burial:
Lexington Cemetery
Lexington
Fayette County
Kentucky, USA
Plot: Section C-1, Lot Q, Grave 28
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Feb 12, 2000
Find A Grave Memorial# 8459
Jim Varney
Added by: Anonymous
 
Jim Varney
Added by: Alan Brownsten
 
Jim Varney
Added by: Katie Nelson
 
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- Kimberly Ann Killeri
 Added: Sep. 23, 2016
Gee, I'm glad is raining, know what I mean? R.I.P. Jim.
- Brandon Burns
 Added: Aug. 29, 2016

- sideshow
 Added: Aug. 27, 2016
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