Jimmy Dean, the country star turned sausage king passed away at the age of 81 at his home in Virginia on Sunday evening, June 13, the New York Daily News reported.
Born in 1928, Dean was raised in poverty in Plainview, Texas. He dropped out of high school after the ninth grade. After serving in the Air Force, he became an entertainer and gained fame during the 1950s as a singer. He went on to host CBS’ “The Morning Show” and in the early 1960s had entertained audiences with several hit country tunes, such as “Big Bad John” and “PT-109,” a song, which honored President John F. Kennedy’s service in World War II. He later secured his place in the spotlight with “The Jimmy Dean Show,” a TV variety series on ABC.
In 1969, Dean began the Jimmy Dean Meat Co., and his sausages grew into a million-dollar business and household name. In 1984, Dean sold the company to Sara Lee.
Dean lived in semiretirement with his wife, a songwriter and recording artist, on their 200-acre estate just outside Richmond, Va., where he enjoyed investing, boating and watching the sun set over the James River, the New York Daily News reported.