He can outrun a cheetah, and scratch it on the chin. His breath was the inspiration for Chanel Bleu De Chanel. His beard cracked the jaws of life in half with a single tug. He doesn’t always play a character on commercials, but when he does, he’s known as The Most Interesting Man In The World.
Actor Jonathan Goldsmith was the definition of a struggling actor. He spent decades in and out of auditions, brushing shoulders with A listers at the craft services table, but never breaking out of supporting roles. Then, one audition in his late sixties suddenly turned him into a worldwide sensation.
Jonathan Goldsmith — now that is the strong full-bodied kind of name worthy of a person who’s otherwise known as The Most Interesting Man In The World. To claim that title, he had to make an impeccable first impression.
Jonathan Goldsmith / Facebook
These days, Jonathan prefers the quiet seat of his fishing boat near his home in southern Vermont rather than the party boy lifestyle of his famous persona. The 80-year-old actor deserves to relax; he’s had a life packed full of wild experiences.
Jonathan Goldman / Facebook
New York born and bred, Jonathan made the move to Hollywood after college. He had some early success as an actor, banking roles in several western films, including John Wayne’s The Shootist. But it was the small screen where he found real staying power.
It’s safe to say that Jonathan made an appearance on your favorite TV show throughout the 70s and 80s, banking over 350 appearances in total. Charlie’s Angels, Murder, She Wrote, MacGyver, to name a few, and even 19 episodes of Dallas, his longest-running gig.
After years of minor or supporting roles, Jonathan felt ready to supplement his income and leave Los Angeles. Until 2004, he taught theater at Adelphi University. But two years later, an audition came across his desk for the role that would change his life.
When he walked in to audition for the Dos Equis beer campaign, Jonathan was nervous. A room full of young Latino actors waiting to be called looked up at him. He thought he’d made a tremendous mistake, but before he could flee, he was called into the room.
Scrambling, Jonathan knew the part called for a Hemingway-esque character, and who better to embody that than his late friend and sailing partner, Fernando Lamas? Jonathan improvised for 30 minutes, and ended with the required line “…and that’s how I arm-wrestled Fidel Castro.”
His take thrilled the Dos Equis execs; they’d found The Most Interesting Man In The World! The ad campaign featured the Man in exciting, delightfully over-the-top scenarios fit for a jetsetting Casanova. In closing, he’d tip his glass and say, “Stay thirsty my friends.”
Dos Equis saw a 22% sales increase when many of their competitors had sinking numbers. The public reaction was huge, as millions searched and viewed the ads on YouTube, a rare reaction. Jonathan rode this wave of viral sensationalism straight to the bank.
Jonathan Goldsmith / Facebook
Capitalizing on his cult celebrity, Jonathan wrote a memoir. From on-set hijinx with A list stars, to wooing irresistible women, he bared it all in Stay Interesting: I Don’t Always Tell Stories About My Life, but When I Do They’re True and Amazing.
Jonathan Goldman / Facebook
Matching the gusto levels of the Most Interesting Man is quite a feat, yet somehow, Jonathan pulls it off effortlessly. Though when questioned about his greatest adventure, he gave the more grounded answer: the birth of his first son, 47 years ago.
As the face of one of the most popular beer campaigns of all time, Jonathan has enjoyed many perks, including two memorable visits to the Playboy Mansion. Though, he admitted he was on his best behavior, flanked by his wife Barbara, his agent and manager.
NY Daily News
Everywhere he goes, Jonathan is expected to drink. No problem. The spokesman enjoys Dos Equis beer, though he usually reaches for a Heineken. His drink of choice? Tequila, preferring a nice smoky mezcal paired with a quality cigar.
His later-in-life success gave him the opportunity to share a few rounds with the most famous people in the world. From Oscar winners like Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo Dicaprio to the uber-wealthy like Sir Richard Branson. You name them, Jonathan’s clinked their glass.
Jonathan Goldman / Facebook
Yep, him too. Jonathan’s swapped stories with Barack Obama several times. It goes without saying that they tossed a few back. In an interview, Jonathan couldn’t recall Barry’s drink of choice but fondly remembers indulging in a gin martini.
Jonathan is a master of conversation.There’s just one topic that breaks him. “The Mexican people are some of the most charming, lovely people I’ve ever met. I’ve done a lot of apologizing,” he told Esquire, referring to Donald Trump’s comments on immigrants from Dos Equis home country.
Jonathan Goldman / Facebook
In fact, he went on to say the current political powers could learn a thing or several from his dream drinking buddy — Pope Francis. Sharing drinks and food is an invaluable form of connection, and Jonathan couldn’t think of a more worthy person to cheers.
At the peak of his Dos Equis tenure, The Most Interesting Man got the internet stamp of approval — he became a viral meme. Adhering to the formula “he doesn’t always do X, but when he does Y,” hundreds of generated versions garnered millions of retweets.
Like all good things, Jonathan’s reign as Most Interesting Man came to an end in 2016 when he was been informed by Dos Equis reps that they were taking the campaign in a new direction. He’d been replaced by actor Augustin Legrand.
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The public didn’t warm to the replacement, Dos Equis shelved the character for good in 2018. After his final commercial, where they ceremoniously sent him off on a mission to Mars, Jonathan was still standing, brushing the ashes of the campaign off his well-tailored suit.
New deals poured into his recently emptied glass. Astral, Jonathan’s tequila of choice, snatched up the eligible Most Interesting Man, signing him on as the face of their brand. Still, he doesn’t hold a grudge. Once in a while, he’ll crack open a Dos Equis.
When people meet Jonathan, they ask versions of the same question: what makes a person interesting? He prophesied, “To be interesting, you have to be interested.” Given that standard, there’s one man, synonymous with curiosity, that could easily claim that title — Anthony Bourdain.
After graduating from culinary school in 1978, Anthony Bourdain took the daring leap into the intensely chaotic world of Manhattan restaurants, and he was shocked by what he discovered.
After bouncing around several establishments, he eventually worked his way up to Executive Chef at a Manhattan brasserie called Les Halles. However, Bourdain quickly learned there was way more to kitchen life than just cooking.
Drugs and booze ran rampant throughout kitchens all over New York City. People had no idea just how inebriated many of the cook and chefs were all the time, so Bourdain took advantage of an opportunity to give people an inside peek at what really went on behind the scenes.
He wrote a no-holds-barred essay titled “Don’t Read Before Eating” for The New York Times in 1999, and that piece of writing laid the groundwork for his award-winning full-length book, Kitchen Confidential, the very next year. His life had taken off, but his happiness increased tenfold after meeting a woman named Ottavia.
Despite the 22-year age gap between Bourdain and Ottavia Busia, the two fell madly in love and wed in 2007. And Busia (Bourdain’s second wife), introduced him to a unique hobby he never thought he’d get involved in but ended up loving.
Because Busia was an Italian Mixed Martial Arts fighter, she helped spur a passion in Bourdain for the sport. At this time, Bourdain’s career was in full flight, and he also had another special reason to keep up the success.
He and Busia welcomed a daughter, Ariane, into the world. He finally quit smoking cigarettes and cut down on the booze. However, the hectic travel schedule of his television show, No Reservations, took a toll on his family.
After nine years of marriage, Bourdain and Busia sadly ended things. However, when it came to his professional life, it seemed like there was no stopping the Bourdain train. People were drawn to his bad-boy lifestyle and hopped aboard. But, it was something else that truly captivated his fans.
It was his brutal honesty about chef life, food, and places he traveled that kept fans coming back week after week. He would openly criticize popular celebrity chefs, and he never shied away from his disgust with one particular group of people.
The chef could not stand vegetarians, and he didn’t care who knew. He said in an interview, “Vegetarians are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit, an affront to all I stand for, the pure enjoyment of food.” He also urged people to partake in one activity as often as possible.
According to Bourdain, one of the most important things people could do to better themselves was travel as often as possible. Sure, his show brought him to areas of the world so he could enjoy their food, but there was another far more important reason.
Bourdain and his film crew worked hard to humanize areas of the world Americans never spoke about. There was a lot of fear associated with certain cultures, and Bourdain’s mission was to break down the walls of discomfort. This mission brought more than just a dedicated fanbase to his show.
No Reservations also received plenty of Emmy awards during its eight-season run, and Bourdain took home the Creative Arts Emmy for Outstanding Writing for Nonfiction Programming. Amid all the hype and accolades, Bourdain met his next girlfriend.
Italian actress, director, and activist, Asia Argento was one of the women at the helm of the #metoo movement, and in 2016, Bourdain began dating her. The two were head over heels for each other, but there was a darkness in Bourdain slowly growing.
Being the brutally honest writer he was, he never hid that he faced off with depression a number of times. Over the course of his career, however, it slowly worsened, until finally, it all came to a head one morning in Kayserberg, France.
Bourdain and his close friend Eric Ripert, a Michelin-rated chef, were staying at the Le Chambard hotel. One evening, Bourdain didn’t join his friend for dinner. Thinking he was simply resting up, Ripert thought nothing of it, until Bourdain also didn’t show for breakfast the next morning.
On June 8, 2018, Ripert entered Bourdain’s hotel room and found his friend’s lifeless body, a victim of suicide. Once news spread of Bourdain’s death, family, friends, and dedicated fans posted messages of love on the front of Les Halles, the restaurant he once ran. Then, the theories of why circulated.
There was speculation Argento had a fling with someone she worked closely with on #metoo, and Bourdain couldn’t handle the heartbreak. However, people who knew them squashed the rumor quickly. Especially one particular coworker Bourdain became quite close with.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper worked alongside Bourdain for many years when the network picked up the show Parts Unknown, Bourdain’s hugely popular series after No Reservations. The anchor teared up while giving a beautiful tribute to the man who “gave me hope for what one’s life can become.”