A business entrepreneur, singer, and TV show host, Jimmy Dean has passed away of natural causes. He died yesterday in Virginia’s Henrico County at the age of 81.
Born in 1928, Dean became a star of country music in the 1950s and ’60s and ended up helping the careers of talents like Patsy Cline and Roy Clark. One of his biggest songs, “Big Bad John,” was released in 1961 and he won a Grammy for it.
In the early 1960s, Dean guest-hosted The Tonight Show. In 1963, he began hosting his own primetime variety program called The Jimmy Dean Show. The ABC series ran for three seasons. The show is most notable for Dean’s regular comedy sketches and songs with Rowlf the Dog, a Muppet performed by Jim Henson. The partnership was beneficial for both sides. The steady income helped a pre-Sesame Street Henson to finance and develop other projects.