Jim Varney - Rotten Tomatoes

Jim Varney

Highest Rated:   100% Toy Story 2 (1999)
Lowest Rated:   13% Ernest Goes to Jail (1990)
Birthday:  
Birthplace:   Lexington, Kentucky, USA
Gangling, Kentucky-born actor Jim Varney cut his professional teeth at Virginia's Barter Theater, a summer-stock concern specializing in vintage American melodramas. At his funniest when playing it totally straight, Varney was hired as a comedy-ensemble member of the 1976 TV variety series The Johnny Cash Show. He went on to play Evel Knievel-takeoff Virgil Sims in Norman Lear's syndicated talk show spoofs Fernwood 2-Night (1977) and America 2-Night (1978). He was also seen as Seaman Broom on Operation Petticoat (1977), in another ensemble play on the ill-fated Pink Lady (1980), as host of the 1982-1983 season of the country-western syndie Pop! Goes the Country, and as Evan Earp, a very distant descendant of Wyatt, on The Rousters. While this multitude of TV credits was impressive enough, Varney's true claim to fame rested in his dozens of commercial appearances, first as Sgt. Glory in a series of public service spots for the Southern Dairy Commission, then as dimwitted hayseed Ernest P. Worrell ("Hey, Vern!" "KnowhutImean?") in a variety of ads aimed at regional markets. Varney parlayed the Ernest character into a handful of videocassettes (many of these highlighted by profanity-peppered outtakes), a Saturday morning TV kiddie show titled Hey, Vern, It's Ernest (1988-1989), and seemingly endless series of low-budget, lowbrow film comedies bearing such titles as Ernest Goes to Camp (1987), Ernest Saves Christmas (1988), and Ernest: Scared Stupid (1989). Outside of his by-now standard characterization, Jim Varney was quite effectively cast as mountain patriarch Jed Clampett in the 1993 film version of the old TV sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies. His biggest-profile role came with the 1995 blockbuster animated film Toy Story, which found Varney cast as Slinky Dog. Varney reprised the role for the 1999 sequel Toy Story 2, and shortly before the release of the second film, Varney revealed he had been battling life-threatening lung cancer since August 1998. Late in 1999, he had experienced a remission from the cancer, but this was to be short-lived. His final battle lasted barely a couple of months after the sequel's release, with Varney succumbing to the disease in February 2000 at the age of 50.

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
49% Atlantis - The Lost Empire
  • Cookie Farnsworth
$83.6M 2001
86% Daddy and Them
  • Hazel
2001
100% Toy Story 2
  • Slinky Dog
1999
No Score Yet Existo
  • Marcel Horowitz
1999
No Score Yet Hostage (The Hire: Hostage)
  • Carl Banks
1999
No Score Yet 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain
  • Lothar Zogg
1998
17% Ernest in the Army
  • Ernest
1998
No Score Yet Treehouse Hostage
  • Actor
1998
No Score Yet Annabelle's Wish
  • Actor
1997
No Score Yet Ernest Goes to Africa
  • Ernest
1997
60% 100 Proof
  • Rae's Father
1997
No Score Yet Snowboard Academy
  • Rudy James
1996
100% Toy Story
  • Slinky Dog
1995
20% Slam Dunk Ernest
  • Ernest P. Worrell
1995
No Score Yet The Expert
  • Snake
1994
No Score Yet Ernest Goes to School
  • Ernest P. Worrell
1994
14% Ernest Rides Again
  • Ernest P. Worrell
1993
23% The Beverly Hillbillies
  • Jed Clampett
1993
25% Wilder Napalm
  • Rex
1993
17% Ernest Scared Stupid
  • Ernest P. Worrell
1991
13% Ernest Goes to Jail
  • Ernest P. Worrell/Mr. Nash/Aunt Nelda
1990
No Score Yet The Rousters
  • Evan Earp
1990
No Score Yet Ernest Goes to Splash Mountain
  • Actor
1989
No Score Yet Fast Food
  • Wrangler Bob Bundy
1989
38% Ernest Saves Christmas
  • Ernest P. Worell
1988
No Score Yet Winning With Money
  • Actor
1987
62% Ernest Goes to Camp
  • Ernest P. Worrell
1987
No Score Yet Dr. Otto and the Riddle of the Gloom Beam
  • Screenwriter
  • Dr. Otto/Rudd Hardtact/Laughin' Jack
1986
No Score Yet Hey, Vern! It's My Family Album
  • Ernest P. Worrell
1985
No Score Yet The Rousters
  • Actor
1983

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet The Simpsons
1989
  • Voice
  • 1998

Quotes from Jim Varney's Characters