Jim Varney was honored by the State Senate of Tennessee, in 1992, for his contributions to the state, especially in the area of children's charities.
Jim Varney had the ability as a young child to memorize long poems and significant portions of material from books. This came as a delight to family and friends.
Jim Varney first appeared as the Ernest P. Worrell character in a commercial to advertise an appearance by the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders at the Beech Bend Park, near Bowling Green, Kentucky, in 1980.
Jim Varney was 6'1".
In a sad irony, Jim Varney appeared as his signature character, Ernest P. Worrell in a public service spot in 1986 that had Ernest trying to get his off-screen friend Vern to stop smoking. Varney, a heavy smoker, died of lung cancer in 2000.
Jim Varney was nominated for a Razzie Award in 1988 as Worst New Star for the film Ernest Goes To Camp .
In 1989, Jim won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series playing Ernest P. Worrell, Auntie Nelda, Dr. Otto, Sergeant Glory, Baby Ernest and Astor Clement on Hey Vern, It's Ernest!.
Jim Varney also appeared as the character Sgt. Glory for the Southern Diary Commission, in a series of commercials.
Jim Varney appeared in nine different films as the character, Ernest P. Worrell. Four of the films were studio releases and five were made for the straight-to-video market. He almost finished another Ernest movie before he died entitled Ernest the Pirate.
Jim Varney visited several hundred terminally ill children in his "Ernest" persona. Varney made these visits through the Make-A-Wish Foundation and other foundations of the same ilk. Varney was never known to have turned down a single request of this kind.
Jim Varney credited his high school teacher, Thelma Beeler, with sparking his interest in acting.
Jim Varney studied Shakespeare at the famous Barter Theater, located in Virginia.
Jim Varney, reportedly, had a near genius level intelligence, and at times, could become a bit exasperated meeting fans that automatically thought he was as intellectually challenged as his signature, Ernest P. Worrell.
Jim Varney and Robin Williams were very good friends. The two met when doing stand up at the Comedy Store, in L.A.
Jim Varney's signature character was "Ernest P. Worrell."
Jim Varney was married twice. His first wife was Jacqueline Drew. She and Varney were married from 1977-1983. Varney's second wife was Jane Varney. Jane and Varney were married from 1988-1991. Varney had no children.
Jim Varney won several state drama competitions when he was a student at Layafette High School in Lexington, Kentucky. Varney graduated from high school in 1968.
Played the dog Slinky in Toy Story and the sequel, Toy Story II .
Jim Varney: I'd like to do a piece of Shakespeare. Any upcoming Shakespeare film. Just a bit to say I did a classic.
Jim Varney: I started to do a study on how not to do stand-up comedy. Yeah, it's lonely work. You die, you die alone. It's you, the light, and the audience. You win, you win big. You lose, you lose big time.
Jim Varney: Everybody likes Ernest unless they are too cool. The people that like sports cars and sunglasses are not our audience. They like the action-adventure, tough-guy stuff. From 14 down and 25 up, we have a huge audience. Older people aren't afraid to laugh at him, and kids aren't self-conscious yet.
Jim Varney: Yeah, I started in theater. I apprenticed at the Barter Theater in Virginia and did summer stock for a long time before I ever got in front of a camera.
(Jim Varney on doing his stand up comedy routine.)
Jim Varney: That's a rough department, stand up comedy. At one point I had an act where I could go 30 or 40 minutes, and I knew the material I was going to do, the timing. You could play it one night and knock'em over. The next night you could play the same material and nothing.
(Jim Varney doing his catch phrase as signature character, Ernest P. Worrell .)
Jim Varney: Know what I mean, Vern?
(Jim Varney on his signature character, Ernest P. Worrell .)
Jim Varney: Ernest is a neighbor or relative that we've all had at one time. He's abrasive, but he doesn't mean to be. He gets excited and ends up standing on your toes. I try to make him clownish and I don't want him to be too low key, and he's physically funny.