James Albert "Jim" Varney, Jr. (June 15, 1949 - February 10, 2000) was an American actor, voice artist, comedian, musician, writer, and stand-up comedian who was best known for his role as the bumbling country bumpkin Ernest P. Worrell, who first appeared in a series of commercials popular in the United States, especially Nashville, Tennessee. Disney took notice of the character's popularity and produced a feature film called Ernest Goes to Camp, starring Varney as Ernest. Varney's acting abilities led him to many roles both as an actor and a voice artist. He appeared as the voice of Slinky in the Pixar films Toy Story, Toy Story 2 and in the video game Animated StoryBook: Toy Story and Toy Story: Activity Center. Shortly before work began on Toy Story 2, Varney was diagnosed with lung cancer and died, while he was recording lines for another Disney film Atlantis: The Lost Empire, which was released a year after his death. In Toy Story 3, his friend, Blake Clark took over as the voice of Slinky. Clark will likely reprise the role in Toy Story 4.