Jim Varney

Actor, Comic
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 ... Read more »
Born: 06/14/1949 in Lexington, Kentucky, USA

Filmography

Actor (44)

Atlantis: the Lost Empire 2001 (Movie)

of Jebidiah Allardyce 'Cookie' Farnsworth (Voice)

Daddy & Them 2000 (Movie)

Uncle Hazel (Actor)

Disney's Hercules 1998 - 2000 (TV Show)

Voice

Existo 1999 (Movie)

Marcel Horowitz (Actor)

Toy Story 2 1999 (Movie)

Voice of Slinky Dog (Actor)

3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain 1998 (Movie)

Lothar Zogg (Actor)

Treehouse Hostage 1998 (Movie)

(Actor)

100 Proof 1997 (Movie)

Rae's Father (Actor)

Ernest Goes to Africa 1997 (Movie)

(Actor)

Ernest in the Army 1997 (Movie)

Ernest P Worrell (Actor)

Oops! The World's Funniest Outtakes 5 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

Snowboard Academy 1997 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Funniest of the World's Funniest Outtakes 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

Annabelle's Wish 1996 (Movie)

of Holder (Voice)

Roseanne 1996 (Tv Show)

Actor

Toy Story 1995 (Movie)

Voice of Slinky Dog (Actor)

Ernest Goes to School 1994 (Movie)

Ernest P Worrell (Actor)

Halloween Jam II at Universal Studios 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Actor

Music in Movies '93 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Actor

Slam Dunk Ernest 1994 (Movie)

Ernest (Actor)

XXX's & OOO's 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Actor

Ernest Rides Again 1993 (Movie)

Ernest P Worrell (Actor)

The Beverly Hillbillies 1993 (Movie)

Jed (Actor)

Wilder Napalm 1993 (Movie)

Rex (Actor)

Ernest Scared Stupid 1991 (Movie)

Ernest P Worrell (Actor)

Ernest Goes to Jail 1990 (Movie)

Auntie Nelda (Actor)

CBS' Happy New Year America 1988 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

Comic Relief III 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

Fast Food 1989 (Movie)

Wrangler Bob Bundy (Actor)

Hey, Vern, It's Ernest! 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

Ernest Saves Christmas 1988 (Movie)

Ernest P Worrell (Actor)

Ernest Goes to Camp 1987 (Movie)

Ernest P Worrell (Actor)

Dr. Otto and the Riddle of the Gloom Beam 1985 (Movie)

Rudd Hardtact (Actor)

The Show Must Go On 1981 - 1982 (TV Show)

Actor

Alan King's Third Annual Final Warning!! 1978 - 1979 (TV Show)

Actor

The New Operation Petticoat 1978 - 1979 (TV Show)

Actor

America 2-Night 1977 - 1978 (TV Show)

Actor

Operation Petticoat 1977 - 1978 (TV Show)

Actor

Operation Petticoat 1977 - 1978 (TV Show)

Actor

Johnny Cash and Friends 1975 - 1976 (TV Show)

Actor

Pink Lady (TV Show)

Actor

The Expert (TV Show)

Actor

The Rousters (TV Show)

Actor
Music (1)

The Beverly Hillbillies 1993 (Movie)

("Hot Rod Lincoln") (Song Performer)
Other (1)

Daddy & Them 2000 (Movie)

in memoriam(film dedicated to Jim Varney) (Other)

Biography

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).

With the success of the Ernest TV commercials, Varney moved the character to features with "Ernest Goes to Camp" (1987), the first in a series of amiably stupid features (i.e., "Ernest Saves Christmas" 1988; "Ernest Goes to School" 1994; "Ernest in the Army" 1998). He received his highest profile film role as Jed Clampett, a newly rich "poor mountaineer who barely kept his family fed", in the hit comedy "The Beverly Hillbillies" (1993), based on the fondly remembered 1960s TV sitcom. Varney also entertained children of all ages by providing the vocals for Slinky Dog in the computer animated "Toy Story" (1995) and its sequel "Toy Story 2" (1999). During the promotional tour for the latter, questions over the actor's radical change of appearance led to his disclosing a year-long battle with lung cancer. In September 1998, Varney under went surgery to remove most of his right lung followed by aggressive radiation therapy.

Relationships

Jane Varney

Wife
divorced his former wife acts as his spokesperson

EDUCATION

Lafayette High School

Lexington , Kentucky

Barter Theater

Abingdon , Virginia
completed an acting apprenticeship

Milestones

2001

Final screen role in "Daddy and Them" (filmed in 1998), directed by Billy Bob Thornton; screened at Montreal; released theatrically in 2002

1999

Publicly disclosed battle with cancer (November)

1999

Reprised vocal role as Slinky Dog in the sequel "Toy Story 2"

1998

Diagnosed with lung cancer; in September underwent surgery to remove two-thirds of right lung; followed up with radiation treatment

1995

Provided voice of Slinky Dog in the computer-generated animated film "Toy Story"

1993

First film in a lead role other than Ernest, "The Beverly Hillbillies"

1988

Reprised signature role in "Ernest Saves Christmas"

1988

Starred in the children's TV series, "Hey Vern, It's Ernest"

1987

First feature in a leading role, "Ernest Goes to Camp", as Ernest P Worrell

1986

Feature acting debut, "Dr. Otto and the Riddle of the Gloom Beam"

1983

Co-starred in the ill-fated series, "The Rousters"

1980

First appeared in commercials as the character Ernest P. Worrell

1980

Played a regular character on the short-lived series, "Pink Lady"

1978

Appeared in the "Fernwood Tonight" spinoff, "America Tonight"

1977

Co-starred in the TV series, "Operation Petticoat" and "The New Operation Petticoat"

1976

TV series debut, "Johnny Cash and Friends"

1972

Introduced signature character of Ernest P Worell in TV commercials

1967

Moved to New York City with $65 dollars

1965

Played first professional acting role, as Puck in a regional production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream"

1958

Began acting in local theater at age eight (date approximate)

Completed an acting apprenticeship with the Barter Theatre

Worked as a stand-up comedian

Appeared in dinner theater productions of "Death of a Salesman", "The Homecoming" and "Guys and Dolls"

Appeared in the Southern Dairy ad campaign as Sgt. Glory for five years

Bonus Trivia

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"Ernest is a neighbor or relative that we've all had at one time. He's abrasive, but he doesn't mean to be. He gets excited and ends up standing on your toes. I try to make him clownish and I don't want him too low key; and he's physically funny." --Jim Varney

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