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Jim Varney was born on June 15, 1949 in Lexington, Kentucky. His father was a physical therapist, his mother a homemaker and he had three older sisters. In his teenage years because of his love of acting, he spent time in school plays and summer stock and supported himself in local dinner theaters.
He was well known for his comedic character Earnest P. Worrell, a goofy and slightly foolish persona. In spite of this character, Jim Varney was quite the intellect and bordered on the I.Q. level of a genius. He loved to work with children and through the Make-A-Wish Foundation would often appear as Earnest.
Jim Varney also portrayed another character named “Auntie Nelda” a senior citizen and dressed in drag, and he brought the character back for the movies Dr. Otto and the Riddle of the Gloom Beam, Ernest Goes to Jail and Ernest Goes to Camp. Some of Jim Varneys other movies include Ernest Saves Christmas, Ernest Goes to School, Ernest Scared Stupid and Ernest in the Army.
When he discovered that he had lung cancer, it was reported that he threw away his cigarettes and quit smoking. Regrettably it was too late, Jim Varney passed away on February 10, 2000 at his home in White House, Tennessee.