Who Is Jimmy Dean? Unveiling the Man Behind the Sausage

If you’ve been a true breakfast connoisseur over the last few decades, then the sausage in your breakfast has probably been Jimmy Dean sausage. But who is Jimmy Dean? Who is this mysterious Willy Wonka of breakfast meat? Is Jimmy Dean a real person? Is Jimmy Dean still alive? Did Jimmy Dean have any children? Could I be related and could it get me a discount on sausage? Let’s see how this sausage is made.

Who is Jimmy Dean?

First of all, yes, Jimmy Dean from Jimmy Dean sausage is a real person. Jimmy Dean was a country music singer that rose to popularity throughout the 1950s and ‘60s. He grew out of his storytelling country music roots to become so much more: an actor, a television host, entrepreneur, and pitchman. One of Jimmy Dean’s most well known songs is “Big Bad John.” In it, he weaves the story of the biggest, baddest coal miner anyone’s ever seen, who heroically gives his life to save his coworkers during a mine collapse.

How did Jimmy Dean get into the sausage game?

Dean hosted a radio show in Washington DC that gave Patsy Cline her start and later went on to host his own variety show on CBS television called The Jimmy Dean Show. During this time, Dean occasionally filled in as guest host for Johnny Carson on the The Tonight Show. When The Jimmy Dean Show was canceled on CBS, he started another show on ABC creatively titled The Jimmy Dean Show. This show featured some of the earliest versions of Jim Henson’s Muppets, with Jimmy performing sketches with Rolfe the Dog. Dean also acted in the Daniel Boone television series and appeared in the James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever.

Dean said his upbringing contributed to his entrepreneurial spirit. Almost every dollar he made in entertainment, he put into an investment. He put money into restaurants, real estate, racehorses, and even a Christmas tree farm. But Jimmy Dean’s lasting legacy began on Christmas Eve in 1965, when he bought into a cousin’s hog farm. After a short while, pork prices began to rise and the Jimmy Dean Pig Parlor became slightly profitable. Jimmy’s brother Don came and they turned the hog farm into a sausage factory. With Jimmy acting as the spokesman during their memorable commercials, Jimmy Dean Sausage Company was a huge success. Dean relished his role, driving a car with a “SSG KING” vanity plate and proclaiming every day to be “Groundhog Day.” Sara Lee Foods bought Jimmy Dean Sausage in 1984, but Jimmy remained its spokesperson until 2003.

Is Jimmy Dean still alive? 

Jimmy Dean grew up in Plainview, Texas. He was born in 1928, during the Great Depression. Unfortunately, Jimmy Dean is no longer with us. He passed away on June 13, 2010. 

Did Jimmy Dean have children?

Jimmy Dean had had three children with his first wife Mary Sue: Garry, Connie, and Robert. So, unless you’re related to a Garry, a Connie, or a Robert, chances are you also aren’t related to Jimmy, so you can kiss your dreams of inheriting a sausage dynasty goodbye. 

About the Author

Will Morgan

Will Morgan, a freelance contributor to Sporked, is an L.A. based writer, actor, and sketch comedy guy. Originally from Houston, TX, he strongly believes in the superiority of breakfast tacos to breakfast burritos. Will traveled the world as one of those people that did yoyo shows at elementary school assemblies, always making a point to find local and regional foods to explore in whatever place he was, even in rinky-dink towns like Tilsonberg, ON. Will spends his birthdays at Benihana’s. Let him know if can make it.