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Jimmy Dean was an actor and musician who made a fortune selling sausages

Born August 10

by Legacy Staff

Jimmy Dean may be the only person in the Country Music Hall of Fame who also appeared in a James Bond film and made a fortune selling sausage. Dean began his musical career in the early 1950s, performing pop and country music and scoring several hits. His natural charm and charisma led to television appearances, including his own afternoon show on CBS as well as guest-hosting “The Tonight Show.” In the 1960s, he hosted “The Jimmy Dean Show” in prime time on ABC while still working as a recording artist. In 1969 he and his brother founded the Jimmy Dean Sausage Co., which flourished thanks in part to Dean’s role as its TV pitchman. His acting career included “Diamonds Are Forever” and myriad television appearances through the late 1980s. We remember Dean’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.

Click to discover notable people who died this day in history including soul music legend Isaac Hayes.

1943: Jimmy Griffin, U.S. singer-songwriter and guitarist who co-founded the band Bread, is born in Cincinnati, Ohio.


1940: Bobby Hatfield, U.S. singer who was one-half of the Righteous Brothers, is born in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.

The duo’s signature 1965 single, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” has been cited by numerous sources as the most programmed song in American radio history. The inclusion of their songs in films such as “Top Gun,” “Ghost,” and “Dirty Dancing” repeatedly re-established the Righteous brand. Read more

1939: Charlie Rose, U.S. politician who represented North Carolina in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1973 to 1997, is born in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

As chairman in the early 1990s of the House Administration Committee – which oversees office space, security, and lawmaker expenses – Rose was nicknamed the “mayor of the Capitol” and was said to be looking for an opening to run for speaker of the House. But the Washington dealmaker found himself in the House minority for the first time in his career when Republicans led by soon-to-be House Speaker Newt Gingrich won broad gains in the 1994 elections. Rose said the election resulted in a Congress full of “ideologues unwilling to compromise,” adding that they “overpromised or narrowly dedicated themselves to solving one or two issues.” Read more

1939: Kate O’Mara, English actress who had notable roles in “Dynasty” and “Doctor Who,” is born in Leicester, England.

Kate O'Mara  (AP Photo/PA, Michael Walter, File)The actress, who began her television career in the 1960s, became a household name for playing Cassandra “Caress” Morrell, sister to Joan Collins’ Alexis Colby, in “Dynasty.” In Britain, she is often remembered for her role in “Triangle” – a soap opera set aboard a North Sea ferry that is often cited as the worst piece of British television. Read more

1931: Tom Laughlin, U.S. film actor, director, and screenwriter who wrote, directed, produced, and starred in the “Billy Jack” series, is born in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Tom Laughlin (Associated Press)“Billy Jack” was completed in 1969, but its release was delayed for two years as Laughlin struggled to find studio backing. He eventually successfully sued Warner Bros. to retain rights and – with no support from Hollywood or from theater chains – Laughlin made a radical decision: Distribute the movie himself and rent theaters to show it in. He also was among the first to advertise on television and to immediately open a movie nationwide, rather than release it gradually. “Billy Jack” initially flopped at the box office, but it generated an underground following and became a substantial commercial success and inspiration to independent filmmakers. The title character has been cited as a forerunner for such screen avengers as Rambo. Read more

1928: Eddie Fisher, U.S. singer and actor who was married to Elizabeth Taylor and had hits including “Oh! My Pa-Pa,” is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

When Fisher first married, it was 1955. He was a teen idol still dominating radio play, and his blushing bride was one of the loveliest young stars in Hollywood, Debbie Reynolds. It was a romance straight out of a teen dream, America’s Sweethearts made one. They soon had two children, Carrie and Todd Fisher, who would grow up to be actors just like mom and dad. Things seemed perfect for the couple … until all of a sudden, they weren’t. Read more

1928: Jimmy Dean, U.S. country music singer and businessman who had hits including “Big Bad John” and created the Jimmy Dean brand of sausage, is born in Plainview, Texas.

His earliest recordings covered mostly those country music staples – lying, cheating, drinking – but his big break came with the 1961 recording “Big Bad John.” The ballad – with lyrics that are less sung than spoken – details a mysterious miner who heroically saves the rest of the men trapped underground with him before he is buried by a second cave-in. Read more

1927: Jimmy Martin, U.S. bluegrass musician who was a member of Bill Monroe‘s Bluegrass Boys, is born in Sneedville, Tennessee.

1913: Noah Beery Jr., U.S. actor who had a notable role on “The Rockford Files,” is born in New York, New York.

1909: Leo Fender, U.S. inventor who created guitars and amplifiers including the famous Fender Stratocaster, is born in Anaheim, California.

1902: Norma Shearer, Canadian-American actress who won an Academy Award for her starring role in 1930’s “The Divorcee,” is born in Montreal, Quebec.

1897: Jack Haley, U.S. actor known best for playing the Tin Man in “The Wizard of Oz,” is born in Boston, Massachusetts.

1889: Charles Darrow, U.S. game designer and claimed inventor of the board game “Monopoly,” is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

1874: Herbert Hoover, U.S. politician who was the 31st president of the United States, serving from 1929 to 1933, is born in West Branch, Iowa.

1814: Henri Nestlé, Swiss confectioner who founded Nestlé, is born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

Click to discover notable people who died this day in history including soul music legend Isaac Hayes.

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