Sunday Morning Country Classic Spotlight to Feature Jimmy Dean
Born Jimmy Ray Dean in a poor, rural west Texas family in August of 1928. Dean first tried his hand at entertaining as a serviceman while stationed at Bolling Air Force Base near Washington D.C. Upon his discharge in 1948 he formed his group, the Texas Wildcats.
Dean was able to string together hit records in the 1960’s his biggest success was being a television personality. He had network shows on CBS and ABC television. Dean was a popular guest host for Johnny Carson, Merv Griffin, Mike Douglas, Dinah Shore, and Joey Bishop.
Dean found a recording niche as a reciter of Dramatic Narrative with his pop hit in 1961, the self penned “Big Bad John,” for Columbia Records on which a 1988 movie was based, starring Jimmy Dean. “Big Bad John,” was a number one hit on both pop and country charts in 1961. The song won Dean the 1962 Grammy Award for Best Country & Western Recording.
He had several more top hit songs including the very popular 1962 song, PT-109″ in honor of John F. Kennedy’s bravery in World War II. In 1969, he founded the Jimmy Dean Sausage company with his brother Don. It’s Success led to its acquisition in 1984 by consolidated foods, later renamed the Sara Lee Corporation.
Dean married twice. His second wife was Donna Meade that he married in 1991. Dean fathered three children with his first wife Mary Sue. Dean died June 13th, 2010 at age 81.
Hear the life and music of Jimmy Dean on the Country Classic Spotlight Sunday December 9th at 11 a.m. on the Country Classic Show 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on 98.1 FM 98 Country.