The Importance Of Being Ernest: The Life of Actor Jim Varney

The Importance Of Being Ernest: The Life of Actor Jim Varney


, Nonfiction, Biography

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Ernest, the lovable blue-collar buffoon, was a staple of pop culture in countless commercials, nearly a dozen movies and an award-winning Saturday-morning TV show. Today, millions of fans still mourn the loss of actor Jim Varney, who portrayed Ernest and who died at age 50 in 2000 of cancer. Ernest fans are finally getting the biography they have been waiting for in this comprehensive work by Jim’s nephew, Justin Lloyd. “The Importance of Being Ernest: The Life of Actor Jim Varney” traces Jim’s journey from a child in Lexington, Kentucky, with dreams of being a stage and film actor to becoming an iconic entertainment figure in the tradition of Charlie Chaplin’s “The Little Tramp.”

The book is based on numerous interviews with family members and intimates of Jim who have never spoken publicly before about what drove the actor and how he overcame many personal and professional obstacles to attain success. But with that success came a price: Jim longed for stage and film roles beyond Ernest, and they were difficult to come by because of his symbiosis with the character. Yet Jim persevered, ultimately winning major movie roles such as Jed Clampett in “The Beverly Hillbillies” and (the voice of) Slinky Dog in the first two “Toy Story” films. The book also explores the genius of the small Nashville advertising agency that created Ernest and how it spread his popularity decades before “going viral” became associated with achieving global stardom.

Even at the height of his career, Jim never forgot he was a descendant of Appalachian coal miners, and he remained true to his values, his friends and his family. Jim always strove for authenticity and humanity inside his hillbilly humor, endearing him to fans from every walk of life. “The Importance of Being Ernest: The Life of Actor Jim Varney” documents the life of an unforgettable figure in American comedy whose legacy endures today.

Title:The Importance Of Being Ernest: The Life of Actor Jim Varney
Edition Language:English
Format Type:

    The Importance Of Being Ernest: The Life of Actor Jim Varney Reviews

  • Zachary Owen

    I wanted to like this book more than I actually did. It held my interest, but it was dry in spots (and Justin Lloyd's writing voice is a little rough). What it did offer me, though, was a glimpse of a...

  • Shaun Jex

    Today, I finished The Importance of Being Ernest: The Life of Actor Jim Varney. Justin Lloyd (Jim's nephew) paints such a beautiful picture of Jim Varney. He was a fascinating, complex man, much more ...

  • Teresa

    I really enjoyed this book. I already knew that Jim Varney was so much more than just "that Ernest guy" when it came to acting skills, but I learned so much more about him that I never knew, such as h...

  • Rebecca Jones

    Who doesn't love Ernest!!!!I grew up watching the movies and the Saturday morning show! It was so inspiring to read and to know he had bigger goals and to see him in those non-Ernest roles and to know...

  • Mary Smith

    I bought this book because as a child I loved Ernest P Worrell, this was such an interesting look into the life of Jim Varney. It brought tears to my eyes multiple times reading about his interests an...

  • Joy

    I always enjoyed Ernest and my husband has been a huge fan. Enjoyed hearing stories we would never had heard otherwise. We are planning a trip to visit some of the places mentioned. Glad his family me...

  • Lisa

    I grew up with the Ernest Commercials and Movies. This was truly a beautiful book and told his life story that I would have never known. Well written and I loved the family pictures. Jim Varney still ...

  • Ron Turner

    It's written by his nephew so it's not exactly impartial, but still a fascinating look at one of my childhood favorites. I grew up watching Ernest sell ice cream, go to camp, save Christmas and fight ...

  • MisterFweem

    Review is here:

  • Severin Discher

    I'm grateful to have insight into a childhood idol, someone I wish I had the chance to meet before he died. The book offers plenty of details into the man he was, his bittersweet career as Ernest, and...