Jimmy Dean's Story
Buckle up because here's where it all began. One day, Jimmy Dean was sitting in a local diner in his hometown of Plainview, Texas. He was having sausage and eggs. Jimmy always did love sausage, but on this particular morning, he bit into a piece of gristle about the size of Texas. He turned to his brother Don and said, “You know, there has got to be room in this country for a good quality sausage!”
The rest is history. Jimmy Dean, the multitalented country singer, TV show host and actor, went on to build America’s favorite sausage company right during the height of his entertainment career.
When people asked him why he started a sausage company, Jimmy often joked, "if you had ever seen my act, you would've realized that diversification was imperative.” But the real reason went back to his roots.
And now, how it all started. Jimmy grew up on a farm in Texas, making his own fresh sausage with his grandfather. And he absolutely loved the sights and smells and sounds of beautiful country mornings. He often described himself as the biggest morning person who ever walked the Earth (in cowboy boots, at least).
Meet Jimmy Dean, the Sausage King. In 1969, he founded the Jimmy Dean Sausage Company. And he was so committed to quality that he couldn’t help but tell you about it. He became the plainspoken sausage spokesman who appeared in hundreds of his own commercials. Back in the day, you couldn’t turn on a TV without seeing his big ol’ grinning face delightfully musing in his charming Southern way about sausage… and life… and mornings… and sausage again.
But there’s a lot more to Jimmy Dean than just signature seasonings. His first love was country music.
Meet Jimmy Dean, the Entertainer. Jimmy Dean is a Hall of Fame country singer who had some huge hits in his day. Go ahead, look ’em up. And be sure to play his song “Big Bad John,” which topped the Billboard charts for months back in the early ’60s.
His singing success led to a TV hosting career. And the Jimmy Dean Show helped put country music on the map, paving the way for all kinds of artists. Jimmy even tried his hand at acting, starring in the Daniel Boone TV series and as a good ol’ boy millionaire in the James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever (basically playing himself).
Meet Jimmy Dean, the Legend. But Jimmy Dean’s most famous role was that of Sausage King. And although he is no longer with us, he left behind a heapin’ helpin’ of morning wisdom. His most famous quote of all might be, “You can’t change the direction of the wind. But you can adjust your sails to always reach your destination.”
Words to live by. Especially when you add a pan full of Jimmy Dean sausage.
Jimmy Dean and Donna Meade Dean. Thirty Years of Sausage, Fifty Years of Ham: Jimmy Dean’s Own Story. (Berkley Hardcover, 2004)