Or Jim Varney, to use his real name. In Oklahoma he did a bunch of commercials for Braum's dairy stores, and then did some movies. Ernest Scared Stupid was his Halloween movie, and the kids loved it; it was so dumb in places it was awful(deliberately), even the kids- who were little- thought so and didn't care, because it was funny as hell.
He died a few years ago. Ace posted some information about him I'd had no idea of, including
While Varney is best known as Ernest one thing that most people do not know about him is that he was a trained Shakespearean actor and classic theater remained a love of his throughout life. He did a lot of standup, appearing on The Tonight Show and was a close friend of Robin Williams from their touring days. People that knew him say that unlike the characters he played he was extremely smart with a near photographic memory. He also gave a lot of money to youth drama programs, financed a Shakespeare theater in Tennessee, and was very active with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, visiting several hundred terminally ill children as 'Ernest'. By all accounts he was a decent, humble man who was happy with the success that he eventually found.
Another one of those people you never think to dig into, and have no idea what all you don't know.