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As an accomplished music star, people who knew Jimmy Dean during his formative years would not be able to recognize that little, impoverished boy who could hardly afford his daily bread. They won’t recognize that lad whose only form of apparel where sacks of sugar made into clothes by his struggling mother who earned a living toiling as a barber. They definitely will not recognize that frustrated boy who had to drop out of school because of the unending humiliation and mockery he faced from his fellow students anytime he showed his face in public. Jimmy’s life chronicles a case of grass to grace, he made a quantum leap from his poor background to become one of the legendary entertainers of his time.
According to the entertainment icon, his hard-knock upbringing contributed a lot to his success, he said the constant lack of basic amenities in his family equipped him with the burning desire and entrepreneurial spirit he needed to be a success in his chosen career. He went further to say that whenever he received his daily dose of ridicule for his sack clothes, his residence or the fact that his mother was a barber, it got a fire burning inside him and the only possible way to quench it was to become a great success and thus, show them that he was just as good as they were, if not better.
Jimmy Dean’s Biography
The icon was born into the Dean family as Jimmy Ray Dean under the zodiac sign of Leo on the 10th day of August 1928 in Olton Texas. He needed to be really tough while growing up because his family was one of the poorest around and his dad George Otto Dean couldn’t provide food for the family. Thus, his mom Ruth Tailor toiled to make ends meet, she earned a meager income as a barber with which she provided food for her kids, as for their clothing, she used old discarded sugar sacks to make clothes for them. Such was the level of poverty in the Dean family.
A young Jimmy Dean commenced his formal education, just like his mates, but the mockery and humiliation he had to endure at the hands of his fellow students because of his impoverished background turned out to be his undoing in academics. The harassment became so much that Jimmy had to drop out of school with the decision to make some money and improve the standard of living in his family. In the midst of his troubles, his interest in music brought him some kind of peace, though he attributed his early interest in music to the Seth Ward Baptist Church and learning how to play the piano from his mother. He also mastered other musical instruments like the harmonica and the guitar.
At age 16, he joined the United States military, serving under the aegis of the Marchant Marines. He enlisted in the Air Force of the US at the beginning of 1946 and while there, he made a go at entertainment, performing in nightclubs. Jimmy became part of the Tennessee Haymakers at the end of his military service, but later founded his own band known as Texas Wildcats. He was already experiencing some moderate success when he signed his debut record deal with the album title Bummin Around released soon afterward. His first musical offering became a major hit and since then, he never looked back.
Life And Death Of The American Singer
After suffering untold hardship as a child, Jimmy became a success in the entertainment industry, he married singer and songwriter Donna Meade in 1991. Donna assisted Jimmy in writing his blunt autobiography titled 30 years of Sausage, 50 years of Ham – in their home in Henrico County, Richmond Virginia.
Before his marriage to Donna, the legendary singer was formally married to Mary Sue Wittauer. Their union which lasted from 1950 to 1990 produced three children – Corry Dean, Garry Dean and Robert Dean. They also had 2 grandchildren named Brianna Dean, Robert’s daughter and Caroline Taylor, Connie’s daughter.
The entertainment legend passed away on a Sunday – 13th of June 2010 at the grand age of 81 in his Virginia home following a protracted illness that confined him to a wheelchair. According to his wife Donna, he was having his meal in front of the TV when she left him, only to come back and find that he was not responsive anymore. Jimmy Dean was pronounced dead at 7:45PM the same day.
From the submissions of some reliable sources, the late actor’s net worth is pegged at an astounding $50 million which was accrued from his career in the entertainment industry. Apart from his entertainment spell, Jimmy Dean was also successful in the world of business, he founded a hog butchering company which he ran with his brother Don. During the late 1980s, the hog-meat company known as Jimmy Dean Sausage Company was already recording over $75 million in profit.
Jimmy Dean later sold the company to Sara Lee Corporation in 1984 but still retained a stake in it as a spokesperson till 2003 when Sara Lee gradually phased him out. The deceased entertainer was also a generous philanthropist, Wayland Baptist University Plainview received a huge donation of $1 million dollars from him in May 2008. Jimmy’s gigantic donation made the records as the most generous donation the educational institution has ever received from a single individual. On his own part, Jimmy was only happy to be able to give back to the community.