Whatever Happened To These Famous Commercial Actors?

By Michael Avery in Entertainment On 10th October 2015

#1

Already the description of him as "moustache guy" should be causing your brain to zero in on what you know him from, a concept not at all lost on Pete Gardner, whose website logo is a disembodied cartoon cookie duster. One of his more notableand current at the time of this writingprojects is Juicy Fruit's "Armpit Fart" ad, because nothing says "Yum!" like the underarm moisture necessary to produce a sound when squeezed. But Pete is actually an accomplished character actor with 70 credits over the course of a career that goes back to the late '70s. So, barring any unforeseen slips of the razor, there's no reason to think we won't see Pete in plenty more ads that need a goofy, middle-aged dad-type guy. Not to mention Law & Order: SVUjust grow out the handles on that thing, Pete, and you're a shoe-in for "Back Alley Predator."

#2

John Hodgman had just landed a gig as a The Daily Show with Jon Stewart contributor when Apple's "Get a Mac" campaign started. He played "PC," the bumbling, ancient-technology foil to Justin Long's "Mac," the youthful, cool, hipster alternative. The campaign spawned 66 ads over three years and made Hodgman a recognizable face. He now does stand-up, a podcast, has a few books of made-up-trivia under his belt, and is still a contributor on The Daily Show. He also works as an actor, although he's generally cast as characters who are a version of his comedic persona, which can best be described as "eccentric know-it-all who really knows nothing and loves mayonnaise." Yeah, he's a weird dude, and he's heavily responsible for the smug satisfaction of Mac peoplewho are just a different shade of "The book was better than the movie" people, reallyso he should be glad to still be working at all.

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#3

Diane Amos became "The Pine Sol Lady" in 1993 and she's actually still doing it, although the ads seem less frequent at the time of this writing than they did throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. She's also a stand-up comic and actress. That is, if you can call nine bit parts in the last 15 years being an actress. But how much auditioning would you put up with if you had steady floor cleaner money rolling in? She's also on Twitter, but somehow only has 106 followers, which is kind of appalling considering Kylie Jenner has 11.7 million. Apparently social media values the thoughts of a narcissistic teenager over a woman who just wants to help you keep a spotless kitchen.

#4

Wendy Kaufman stumbled into her star-making gig as Snapple's Long Island Delta Burke completely by accident. In 1990, she was actually working in the company's billing department, where, according to Wikipedia, she began answering customers' letters, because "nobody in the office wanted to do it themselves." Naturally, an ad executive noticed this and thought "Yeah, that's a good idea for which I'll now get paid handsomely by pretending it was my own," and "The Snapple Lady" was born. It was a good ride for five or six years until Quaker Oats bought the company and apparently decided they couldn't justify the expense of fake flowers and blazers with shoulder pads. Kaufman tried to get back behind the oddly high counter in the late-2000s until negotiations with Cadbury Schweppes (Snapple's then-parent company) broke down. Around that time she appeared on the weight loss reality show, Celebrity Fit Club, as well as a bunch of those "Hey, Remember This Stuff?" shows that VH1 would cast with literally anyone recognizable from the '90s. IMDb now has two current movie credits listed for Wendy, so she's right on pace with her working-a-little-every-decade-or-so plan.

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#5

Like Pete Gardner (the moustache), Jerry Lambert has done so many major, nationwide ads that his everyman face could appear in the dictionary next to the words "Dad" or "Manager." He's shilled for Geico, Wendy's, and most notably Sony as "Kevin Butler," the compnay's fictional VP of wacky departments like "First Person Shooter Relations." Strangely, Sony ended up suing Lambert after he appeared in a Bridgestone commercial where he plays a Wii, which in Sony's opinion violated his contract. The suit ended in a settlement in which Lambert agreed not to appear in any video game advertisements for two years, which might have been a sliver lining for him. Of everyone on this list, Lambert has gone on to consistently land roles in projects with recognizable names like Key and Peele, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and Horrible Bosses 2. That certainly wasn't an intentional knock on David Leisure's role as "Maxwell" in the Alan Thicke short film, Sperm Donor, butokay, you got us, that's exactly what it was.

#6

Remember those completely crazy Slim Jim commercials where a single bite of the spicy meat-ish stick would send a lunatic banging around the stomach walls like a straight-jacketed mental patient? Well, Demetri Goritsas was that lunatic, and even though his voice in those spots was enough to make you want to...snap (Get it? Sorry), he's gone on to a pretty respectable career of character acting as well as voice-over work. Demetri also narrates some pretty heavy documentaries, lending gravitas to subjects like the Nepal earthquake and whatever horrifying things "doomsday volcanoes" are. That's really not bad, especially considering Bryan Cranston went from a Preparation H commercial to winning an Emmy. With Demetri recently landing a role in the big budget action/adventure, Everest, his prospects are looking pretty good.

#7

Whatever happened to the Verizon Wireless guy?

You know the one! That dapper young man in the thick-framed black glasses who roamed the country, endlessly checking the integrity of Verizon's U.S. network. Every few seconds, he'd check again: "Can you hear me now? Good." It was a ubiquitous ad campaign, and for nearly nine years, you really couldn't turn on the TV without seeing his efficient, workmanlike image staring back at you, imploring you to sign up with Verizon.

Well, things have changed quite a bit since the character's first appearance in 2002 we all have smartphones, for one and actor Paul Marcarelli is no longer signed on as the company's high-profile pitchman. So, what's he been getting up to besides?

As it turns out, quite a few things, none of which he could've made happen while he was still hawking phone plans. He's a filmmaker, having co-written the 2011 independent film The Green, and also having co-founded its production company.