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Jim Varney

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By Fort Worth Star-Telegram | October 27, 1991
Jim Varney has said that there's a little of every man in his alter ego, the lovable goofball Ernest P. Worrell."And I do stress 'just a little,' " the actor said in a recent interview to promote his latest comedy, "Ernest Scared Stupid."And in spite of what audiences might believe, there's more than Ernest in Jim Varney.Mr. Varney and director John Cherry have helped make the character a mainstay in American culture. With more than 4,000 commercials on television and radio, it's tough not to have seen or heard Ernest at some time or another.
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By Ann Hornaday and Ann Hornaday,SUN FILM CRITIC | February 28, 2000
Imagine the Bader-Meinhoff Gang led by Mickey Rooney, and you get an idea of "Existo," the raunchy, rollicking musical comedy that wowed Baltimore audiences at last year's MicroCineFest and returns today to the Charles Theatre for a limited run. Bruce Arnston stars as the title character, a whacked-out poet-provocateur who arrives in a nameless city in the near future to do battle with the fundamentalist fanatics who have taken over the government....
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NEWS
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."
NEWS
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."
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By Ann Hornaday and Ann Hornaday,SUN FILM CRITIC | February 28, 2000
Imagine the Bader-Meinhoff Gang led by Mickey Rooney, and you get an idea of "Existo," the raunchy, rollicking musical comedy that wowed Baltimore audiences at last year's MicroCineFest and returns today to the Charles Theatre for a limited run. Bruce Arnston stars as the title character, a whacked-out poet-provocateur who arrives in a nameless city in the near future to do battle with the fundamentalist fanatics who have taken over the government....
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By Joe Rhodes and Joe Rhodes,Contributing Writer | August 8, 1993
Los Angeles --There's a break on the set of "The Beverly Hillbillies," 20th Century Fox's $25 million feature film version of the 1960's CBS sitcom, and Jim Varney, the man who would be Jed Clampett, is sitting out with the extras by the cement pond, smoking a cigarette, drinking coffee and looking not the least little bit like Buddy Ebsen. He's got a dark caterpillar of a mustache, for one thing, brown hair curling over his ears and down to the collar of his bolo-tied shirt. He's wearing a western-cut Hank Williams suit, with charcoal-gray pinstripes and pointy black boots.
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By Ann Hornaday and Ann Hornaday,SUN FILM CRITIC | November 4, 1999
Sunday night, hundreds of Baltimoreans will eagerly line up at the Senator Theatre, awaiting the first glimpse of hometown boy Barry Levinson's fourth installment in his Baltimore series, "Liberty Heights."But for an audience of distinctly less conventional sensibilities, an equally important screening is being held farther south that evening. A movie called "Existo" is making its Baltimore debut at the Charles Theatre, and fans of subversive, playful musical comedies -- think early John Waters by way of "Rocky Horror Picture Show" -- won't want to miss this chance to see that rarity in the world of cinema: a true original.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Ann Hornaday | February 20, 2000
The film world suffered a loss with the recent death of comic actor Jim Varney. Varney might have made his reputation with the idiotic "Ernest" movies, but his last film performance was no doubt his most inspired. In "Existo," he plays a member of a manic performance art group trying to do battle with the forces of Christian fundamentalism. The film, which had its Baltimore premiere last year at MicroCineFest and returns Saturday to the Charles Theatre for a limited run, is filled with indelible moments, among them star Bruce Arnston hopping around on a pogo-stick that resembles a part of the male anatomy.
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By Knight-Ridder News Service | October 14, 1991
In what amounts to more fair warning than you normally expect from Hollywood, "Ernest Scared Stupid" opens with Ernest P. Worrell in a pile of garbage. The recycled trash that follows is, therefore, no surprise.When last encountered, in "Ernest Goes to Jail," Ernest had entered a plea of inanity and was in the slammer. Unfortunately, he's now back on the streets, free to continue his one-man dumbing of America. In demeanor and deportment, Ernest still looks like someone you might find passed out under the stadium seats in the final quarter of a pro football game.
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By Chris Kaltenbach and Chris Kaltenbach,SUN STAFF | May 27, 1997
A Baltimore-based sitcom returns tonight on ABC."Roseanne" (8 p.m.-8:30 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- As fine as the last 15 minutes of last week's series-ender was -- and it was, a reminder of how poignant "Roseanne" could be, and how emotionally invested in the series many of its viewers (not to mention its star) were -- it can't quite erase the memory of the past season. Here's a reminder of how bad it got, a repeat from October in which Jim Varney plays a wealthy prince who becomes infatuated with Jackie.
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By Ann Hornaday and Ann Hornaday,SUN FILM CRITIC | November 4, 1999
Sunday night, hundreds of Baltimoreans will eagerly line up at the Senator Theatre, awaiting the first glimpse of hometown boy Barry Levinson's fourth installment in his Baltimore series, "Liberty Heights."But for an audience of distinctly less conventional sensibilities, an equally important screening is being held farther south that evening. A movie called "Existo" is making its Baltimore debut at the Charles Theatre, and fans of subversive, playful musical comedies -- think early John Waters by way of "Rocky Horror Picture Show" -- won't want to miss this chance to see that rarity in the world of cinema: a true original.
FEATURES
By Joe Rhodes and Joe Rhodes,Contributing Writer | August 8, 1993
Los Angeles --There's a break on the set of "The Beverly Hillbillies," 20th Century Fox's $25 million feature film version of the 1960's CBS sitcom, and Jim Varney, the man who would be Jed Clampett, is sitting out with the extras by the cement pond, smoking a cigarette, drinking coffee and looking not the least little bit like Buddy Ebsen. He's got a dark caterpillar of a mustache, for one thing, brown hair curling over his ears and down to the collar of his bolo-tied shirt. He's wearing a western-cut Hank Williams suit, with charcoal-gray pinstripes and pointy black boots.
FEATURES
By Fort Worth Star-Telegram | October 27, 1991
Jim Varney has said that there's a little of every man in his alter ego, the lovable goofball Ernest P. Worrell."And I do stress 'just a little,' " the actor said in a recent interview to promote his latest comedy, "Ernest Scared Stupid."And in spite of what audiences might believe, there's more than Ernest in Jim Varney.Mr. Varney and director John Cherry have helped make the character a mainstay in American culture. With more than 4,000 commercials on television and radio, it's tough not to have seen or heard Ernest at some time or another.
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By Stephen Hunter VIDEO It's a troll, Vern | September 5, 1992
MOVIESDafoe delivers"Light Sleeper" is either a return to form or an imitation of form. It's hard to say which. Written and directed by Paul Schrader, it seems to be another version of Schrader's revered "Taxi Driver." Still, it has some mesmerizing power. Willem Dafoe plays a drug delivery boy who, at 40, begins to wonder what's next for him. Schrader's feel for New York night life is convincing, as is Dafoe's almost childlike performance. R. ** 1/2 . Jim Varney may never be confused with either Francois Truffaut or Frances Ford Coppola or even Francis the Talking Mule, but his flubber-faced impersonation of all-around moron and good guy Ernest P. Worrell deserves some kind of recognition.
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By David Bianculli and David Bianculli,Special to The Sun | November 5, 1994
Got plans? If not, make them, because tonight's TV is too bad not to miss.* "The Secret Garden" (11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Channel 13) -- Don't be fooled, or overly excited. This "ABC Kids Movie Matinee" special isn't the recent movie version, or a TV adaptation of the Broadway production. It's a full-length musical cartoon, an animated musical featuring a lot of British talent, most of whom will be more familiar to adults: Derek Jacobi of "I, Claudius," for example, or Honor Blackman, who played Pussy Galore in "Goldfinger."
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