You would have waited in vain during last night’s Super Bowl if you were expecting a new installmant of Dos Equis beer’s new iconic Most Interesting Man ads. There were no spots given to those campaigns–the ones featuring a tanned, slightly weathered older man with an ironic baritone voice-over saying things like: "The police often question him just because they find him interesting," "His beard alone has experienced more than a lesser man’s entire body," and "His blood smells like cologne."
I was waiting to see a new version of the ad, which began in 2009, after reading this hilarious short profile of the actor, Jonathan Goldsmith, who plays the character. The article, at least for the moment, has become its own small sensation–currently a "most-read" article on The New Yorker’s website. What’s fascinating is not the actor who plays the Most Interesting Man, but the attempt, quite successful, to market himself as the real life version of the role he plays.
Goldsmith tells The New Yorker some of the More Interesting things he’s done. He’s rescued a stranded climber on Mt. Whitney, saved a drowning girl in Malibu, sailed the high seas with his friend Fernando Lamas (who he says, in truth is the real inspiration for his Dos Equis persona).
But it turns out Goldsmith is just a 72-year-old Jewish guy from the Bronx. And aside from a network marketing business (which he says is successful, though it isn’t quite clear what it is) and a failed attempt at a water-less car wash, he’s made a career in Hollywood starring in shows like "Dallas" and "MacGyver." He still has his pride though, noting how he once bullied Dustin Hoffman in a theater audition ("I’m gonna make it and you’re not"), and also, like the Most Interesting Man persona, "love[s] the old philosophers" and has "a large library."
If his ersatz Hugh Hefner visage doesn’t inspire awe, his wife Barbara does. Though we don’t meet her in the profile, we learn that she’s the brains behind Goldsmith’s newfound glory as the Dos Equis beer guy. Barbara began marketing her generically good-looking beau to casting agencies a few years ago, and eventually landed him the presumambly lucrative Dos Equis spot. We don’t learn how much he makes, but apparently its enough to keep the sailboat he’s been living on for the last few years, and buy a home for he and Barbara in Vermont, for retirement.
Plus, as he told The New Yorker at a recent boat show in New York, he can afford a few pocket knives: "I love pocketknives,” he said, flipping one open, gang-fight style. “I bought a couple for my grandsons, so they could cut off their seat belts.”