Last Updated: January 23, 2024
Richest CelebritiesSingers
Net Worth:
$50 Million
Aug 10, 1928 - Jun 13, 2010 (81 years old)
Entrepreneur, Singer, Businessperson, Actor, Presenter
United States of America
💰 Compare Jimmy Dean's Net Worth

What was Jimmy Dean's Net Worth?

Jimmy Dean was a country music singer, television personality, actor, and businessman who had a net worth of $50 million at the time of his death in 2010. Jimmy Dean rose to fame in the early 1960s with his number-one hit song "Big Bad John" and his television variety series "The Jimmy Dean Show," and later in the decade founded his eponymous sausage brand. Among his acting credits, Dean appeared in the television series "Daniel Boone" and in the James Bond film "Diamonds Are Forever."

Early Life

Jimmy Dean was born on August 10, 1928 in Seth Ward, Texas to Ruth and George. He was raised in nearby Plainview. Dean was taught how to play the piano by his mother, and he developed a further interest in music thanks to the Seth Ward Baptist Church. In the 1940s, Dean served in the US Air Force. He subsequently dropped out of high school to pursue his career in entertainment.

Entertainment Career

In 1952, Dean had his first hit as a singer with the song "Bumming Around," which was released through 4 Star Records. A couple years later, he hosted the popular Washington, DC radio show "Town and Country Time" on WARL-AM. The program moved to WMAL-TV on weekday afternoons in 1955. In 1957, Dean hosted the music variety program "Country Style" on WTOP-TV, a program that was soon picked up by CBS and aired as "The Morning Show," and then as "The Jimmy Dean Show." However, Dean became best known for his song "Big Bad John," which was released in 1961. The song reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and number two on the UK Singles Chart, and went on to win the Grammy Award for Best Country & Western Recording. Following that success, Dean had a top-10 hit in 1962 with the song "PT-109," a tribute to President John F. Kennedy's combat service during World War II. In 1963, his "The Jimmy Dean Show" came to ABC as an hour-long weekly music variety show, and helped bring country music to the mainstream. The program also introduced Rowlf the Dog, one of Jim Henson's first Muppets to appear on national television.


Throughout the 1960s, Dean appeared on various television talk, variety, and game shows, including "The Ed Sullivan Show" and "The Hollywood Palace." He continued releasing hit songs, as well, such as "The First Thing Ev'ry Morning (And the Last Thing Ev'ry Night)," "Harvest of Sunshine," "Stand Beside Me," and "A Thing Called Love." After the end of "The Jimmy Dean Show," Dean turned to acting with multiple appearances on the NBC series "Daniel Boone." In 1969, he appeared in the television film "The Ballad of Andy Crocker." Early the next decade, Dean played billionaire recluse Willard Whyte in the James Bond film "Diamonds Are Forever," and also had a role in the television film "Rolling Man." In 1976, he returned to the top 10 of the country music charts with the song "I.O.U." Dean continued to act throughout the 1980s, with a guest role on "Fantasy Island" and a main role on the short-lived crime drama series "J.J. Starbuck." He had his final acting roles in 1990, starring opposite Ned Beatty in the Western film "Big Bad John," based on his famous song, and appearing in an episode of "Murder, She Wrote."

(Photo by Art Zelin/Getty Images)

Jimmy Dean Sausage Company

In 1969, Dean founded his eponymous sausage company with his brother Don. The brand did well, partly because of Dean's humorous, improvised commercials on TV. Eventually, the success of the company led to its acquisition by Consolidated Foods in 1984. Dean remained the spokesman for the brand, but his new corporate parent ended up pushing him out of management duties. In early 2004, he was dropped as the spokesman due to his advanced age. Later, in 2018, Jimmy Dean Foods began re-airing some of its classic commercials featuring recordings of Dean's voice.

Personal Life and Death

Dean married his first wife, Mary Sue, in 1950. Together, they had three children named Garry, Connie, and Robert, and resided in Tenafly, New Jersey in the 1980s. The couple divorced in 1990 amid Dean's affair with country singer Donna Meade, who subsequently became his second wife. They lived at Chaffin's Bluff outside of Richmond, Virginia. In 2004, Dean released his autobiography "30 Years of Sausage, 50 Years of Ham."

On June 13, 2010, Dean passed away at his home in Varina, Virginia. He was 81 years of age. Dean was entombed in a nine-foot-tall piano-shaped mausoleum on the grounds of his estate, with his epitaph reading "Here Lies One Hell of a Man." In 2016, the Jimmy Dean Museum opened on the grounds of Wayland Baptist University in Dean's hometown of Plainview, Texas. The museum houses much of his memorabilia.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
Did we make a mistake?
Submit a correction suggestion and help us fix it!
Submit a Correction