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Jimmy Dean dies at 81

June 15, 2010 - 10:03:12 PM

Jimmy Dean, the music legend and entrepreneur passed away on Sunday, June 13, 2010 at his home outside Richmond, Va. at the age of 81. His wife, Donna Meade Dean told the Associated Press that Jimmy Dean was just sitting at home, eating and watching TV. She left the room for a little bit and when she returned, to her shock, she found him dead. Besides his wife, Jimmy Dean is survived by three children and two grandchildren, Donna Meade Dean said. Arrangements have not be made, but it will be a private service, she said.

Jimmy Dean and Elvis Presley
Jimmy Dean and Elvis Presley.

Jimmy Dean was born in Plainview, Texas in 1928. He dropped out of high school to help support his family. After a stint in the military, Jimmy taught himself the accordion and began writing music and went to a successful career in country music, which included his own TV show, 'The Jimmy Dean Show'. Elvis Presley appeared on his show once in 1956 and Jimmy humorously recounted what a hard time he had getting anything out of Elvis other than a 'yep' or a 'nope'. He was eventually stationed in Washington, D.C., and in those improbable environs, would become a television powerhouse, in time hosting a nationally-broadcast CBS morning show that would trounce Dave Garroway's-hosted Today Show in the ratings. Ensuing network programs would also climb the ratings' charts - and introduce the fledgling Muppets to the world. Jimmy won a Grammy for his song Big Bad John, a tune about a towering, doomed miner. He won hearts starring as a sidekick to Fess Parker's Daniel Boone in the television series of the same name.

Jimmy: So, you're gonna be on the S.S. Mt. Vernon tonight, are you, Elvis?

Elvis: Yep.

Jimmy: Have you ever worked on a boat before?

Elvis: Nope.

Jimmy: I imagine you're looking forward to this, aren't you?

Elvis: Yep.

And that was it. 'Yep, nope... 'and that's all he would say.

Years later, Elvis would apologize profusely for leaving me hanging on that interview telling Dean he was so sorry about that but I was scared to death'. Jimmy Dean: It's hard to believe that Elvis could be shy or afraid of anything, but I guess even 'The King' had those days in the beginning.

Rosie Grier Jimmy Dean and Fess Parker on the set of the Daniel Boone Show.

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