Jim Varney, the comic who portrayed his country rube...

Deaths Elsewhere

February 12, 2000

Jim Varney, the comic who portrayed his country rube character "Ernest" in hundreds of television commercials and a series of hit movies, died of lung cancer Wednesday at his home in White House, Tenn., said his attorney. Mr. Varney became a cult figure in the 1980s in a series of regional commercials, portraying Ernest P. Worrell, a know-it-all good ol' boy whose best-known phrase was "KnowhutImean?" and who addressed an unseen character known as "Vern." Varney also was the voice of Slinky Dog in "Toy Story" and "Toy Story II."

Roger Vadim, 72, the famed French director whose films and life revolved around female beauty and whose romances included Brigitte Bardot, Jane Fonda and Catherine Deneuve, died yesterday in Paris after a long struggle with cancer. He was 72. Mr. Vadim was best-known for the 1956 groundbreaking "And God Created Woman" about a young married woman's quest for sexual freedom.

The film brought his new wife Bardot instant fame and enjoyed commercial success around the world.

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