Known best as a regular on the early 1970s CBS variety program Hee Haw, Sartain is also famous for portraying The Big Bopper in the 1978 film The Buddy Holly Story. He also appeared in Fried Green Tomatoes, The Outsiders, Cher, and numerous other movies and television series.
He began his entertainment career as a member of a television camera crew and rose to prominence as an actor after appearing on a comedy program titled The Uncanny Film Festival and Camp Meeting.
A visual artist as well as an actor, he created album cover art and published illustrations in major magazines.
After graduating from the University of Tulsa in his home state of Oklahoma, he relocated to New York City.
He appeared in director Cameron Crowe's 2005 film Elizabethtown.