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“Hey Vern,” it’s Jim Varney, 1984

Posted on November 26, 2014 | in Uncategorized | by
Actor and comedian Jim Varney, February 1984. Varney made "Know what I mean?" (said, essentially, as one word) part of our pop culture chatter as the fast-talking bumpkin Ernest P. Worrell. Before those days, the Lexington native was a regular on Bluegrass stages such as Studio Players and the Pioneer Playhouse. With his 'Hey Vern' character Ernest P. Worrell, he was featured in an extensive series of regional ads in the 1980s that eventually made Ernest a national presence, and served to provide financial stability for Varney after years of working to get by in gigs from standup comedy to stage to TV character acting. A heavy smoker, Varney died at 50 Feb. 10, 2000 after being diagnosed with lung cancer, but not before he took his homegrown persona on the big screen including Ernest Goes to Jail (1990), Ernest Scared Stupid (1991) and into roles such as Jed Clampett in the Beverly Hillbillies movie (1993) and as the voice of the slinky dog in the Toy Story (1995). Photo by Frank Anderson | staff

Actor and comedian Jim Varney in February 1984. Varney made “KnowhutImean?” part of our pop culture chatter as fast-talking bumpkin Ernest P. Worrell. Before those days, the Lexington native was a regular on Bluegrass stages, including Studio Players and Pioneer Playhouse. With his ‘Hey Vern’ character Ernest P. Worrell, he was featured in an extensive series of regional ads in the 1980s that eventually made Ernest a national presence and provided financial stability for Varney after years of getting by in standup comedy, stage roles and TV character acting. A heavy smoker, Varney died of lung cancer at age 50 on Feb. 10, 2000. By then, he had parlayed his homegrown persona into success on the big screen with Ernest Goes to Jail, and Ernest Scared Stupid, and into roles including Jed Clampett in the big-screen version of The Beverly Hillbillies and as the voice of the slinky dog in Toy Story. Photo by Frank Anderson | Staff

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