Jimmy Dean Dies

Sausage king and country singer Jimmy Dean is dead at age 81. You won’t find this news on the company website though. You’d think that they would have been cognizant of their founder’s advancing years, and had something prepared to honor him, but I suppose they are totally focused on selling sausage.

The New York Daily News has a superb obituary explaining Dean’s appeal:

Technically, Jimmy Dean sold us sausage. What he really sold us was corn.

From his little links to his TV variety shows to his music career, Dean packaged himself as the quintessential Southern good old boy, with the big wide grin and the long slow drawl and everything but a piece of hay coming out from between his lower front teeth.

Dean was inducted into the Meat Industry Hall of Fame in 2009, and will be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010.

CNN is saying Dean’s death was from “natural causes.” If anyone finds more detail, please email me.

Dean may be dead, but his legacy of sappy ballads, bowel cancer, and millions of dead pigs lives on.

Update: long New York Times obituary here.