Lanky comic performer of TV and film with a prominent nose, best known for his portrayal of the dimwitted Southern nuisance, Ernest P. Worrell. Varney's signature character first appeared in commercials in 1980 and eventually graduated to star status in features and a children's TV program. Varney began as a stand-up comedian while auditioning for off-Broadway roles. In the early 70s, he starred for five years as Sgt. Glory in a series of Southern Dairy commercials. His first big break came when cast as a regular in the variety series, "Johnny Cash and Friends" (1976). He next appeared in a succession of short-lived TV shows: "Operation Petticoat" (1977), "The New Operation Petticoat" (1978), "America 2-night" (1978), "Pink Lady" (1980), and "The Rousters" (1983).