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True Stories of Amazing People and Places in Texas

Famous People from Hale County Texas

Jimmy Dean

Country music singer, actor and Entrepreneur
Famed country singer, actor and entrepreneur Jimmy Ray Dean was born on August 10, 1928, in Olton, Texas, to working-class parents. Raised in Plainview, Dean's Depression-era upbringing saw him experience abject poverty. His father floated in and out of Jimmy's early life, once slaughtering the young boy's pet goat in order to put food on the table. His mother sewed clothes for Dean and his siblings using sugar sacksóclothes that brought Dean heavy ridicule from his peers. Dean later credited this hard-knock upbringing with giving him his entrepreneurial spirit, and burning desire to succeed. "I think the kids in school that laughed at the clothes that we wore and the house that we lived in and then my mother had to cut hair ... I think that was a good motivator," Dean later told reporters. "Every time they laughed at me, they just built a fire and there was only one way to put it outóto try and show 'em I was as good as they were."

He dropped out of high school and became a professional entertainer after serving in the United States Air Force in the late 1940s.

He became a national television personality starting on CBS in 1957. He rose to fame for his 1961 country music crossover hit into rock and roll with "Big Bad John" and his 1963 television series The Jimmy Dean Show.

His acting career included appearing in the early seasons in the Daniel Boone TV series as the sidekick of the famous frontiersman played by star Fess Parker. Later he was on the big screen in a supporting role as billionaire Willard Whyte in the James Bond movie Diamonds Are Forever starring Sean Connery.

In 1969, he founded the Jimmy Dean Sausage Company with his brother Don. The company did well in part because of Dean's own extemporized, humorous commercials.

The success of the company led to its acquisition in 1984 by Consolidated Foods, later renamed the Sara Lee Corporation. Dean remained involved as spokesman for the company, but the new corporate parent immediately began phasing him out of any management duties. In January 2004, Dean said that Sara Lee had dropped him as the spokesman for the sausage brand because he was too old.In March 2004, Dean revealed that he had sold all but one of his shares in Sara Lee stock. In 2018, several years after his death, the sausage company began re-airing some classic commercials featuring the voice of Dean introducing himself and praising the product.

Dean died June 13, 2010, at the age of 81. His estate was estimated to be worth over $50 million.

Resources:

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Texas History in the 19th Century (Amazon)

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Thirty Years of Sausage...Fifty Years of Ham

A memoir from the country singer and entrepreneur Jimmy Dean covers his life from his childhood in West Texas through success as a country and western entertainer to fulfillment as a sausage superstar.

Famous People from Hale County Texas

Amazing People from Hale County TexasStories about people from Plainview, Hale Center, Petersburg and Abernathy Texas

Famous Actors from West TexasFamous Celebrities from West Texas
Books about Hale County People and Places

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