R.I.P. Jimmy Dean

From the WaPo's aptly named "Post Mortem" blog:
Jimmy Dean, 81, the country singer and television personality who parlayed his show-business earnings into a second successful career marketing breakfast sausages, died Sunday at his Henrico County home.

During the 1950s, Mr. Dean was the voice of country music for most Washingtonians. He lived in Arlington and broadcast locally before making a name with his CBS television show, "Country Style."

Like many country performers, he found his way into broadcasting as a way to promote his live performances, but unlike most he was both telegenic and media-savvy. "Country Style" was recorded locally at WTOP-TV beginning in 1957. It featured country performers such as Johnny Cash and Virginia's Patsy Cline as well as such jazz singers Billy Eckstine and Mel Torme.


But Jimmy Dean is perhaps best known for his brand of sausages, which found their way onto the breakfast tables of a generation of Americans. His knowledge of broadcasting and advertising undoubtedly helped in the enterprise. By the 1990s, a conservative estimate of Mr. Dean's fortune from his sausage empire and other business interests was $75 million.
What baffles me is that nowhere in McArdle's pre-obituary is there any mention of my favorite Jimmy Dean role: Willard White:

That's some great acting right there.

Oh, and there's also Mr. Dean's breakfast food -- of which I am a huge fan. The good ones, not the crappy ones.


Well, happy trails Jimmy Dean. I hope you are sitting down to some pre-made breakfast sandwiches with the Big Guy Upstairs now.

Photo: Jimmy Dean prepares for a taping of his television show in 1964 (Associated Press)