Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Good Article About The Most Interesting Man In The World

from Nick Paumgarten at The New Yorker

The most interesting thing about the man who plays the Most Interesting Man in the World, in those TV ads for Dos Equis beer, is that he is interesting, too, perhaps even superlatively so. His name is Jonathan Goldsmith. He’s the one who says, in a Spanishy accent, at the end of each spot, “I don’t always drink beer, but when I do I prefer Dos Equis.” What makes his Most Interesting Man character interesting, besides a preference for spirits, is other traits invented for him by copywriters:

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At museums, he’s allowed to touch the art... His blood smells like cologne... Sharks have a week dedicated to him... He once had an awkward moment, just to see how it feels... The police often question him, just because they find him interesting.

These lines are recited gravely by the narrator of “Frontline” over faux-grainy clips of our Man cliff-diving in Acapulco, or splashing down in a space capsule, or lying in a hospital bed stitching up a wound on his own shoulder while surgeons and nurses stand around idly, chuckling at his jokes.

Goldsmith is not this man. Still, he has more in common with him than you do. A montage of highlights from the real life of Jonathan Goldsmith might include (had there been cameras present) footage of him rescuing a stranded climber on Mt. Whitney, saving a drowning girl in Malibu, sailing the high seas with his friend Fernando Lamas (the inspiration for his Interesting persona and, according to Goldsmith, “the greatest swordsman who ever lived in Hollywood”), and starting a successful network marketing business (“I was a hustler, a very good hustler”), which, for a while, anyway, enabled him to flee Hollywood for an estate in the Sierras. Among the outtakes might be glimpses of his stint as a waterless-car-wash entrepreneur. “I love the old philosophers,” he said. “I have a large library. I am not a die-hard sports fan. I love to cut wood.”

Goldsmith, who is seventy-two, related these and other data the other day over an early lunch in midtown. He was accompanied by his wife, Barbara, who, as his agent, five years ago, got him the Dos Equis gig. They’d recently left their spouses and moved in together. They live aboard his sailboat, in Marina del Rey, but had come East to (a) buy a new house in Vermont, to retire to, and (b) spend a week in New York, sussing out what the Most Interesting Man in the World could do for Jonathan Goldsmith.

Click here to continue to the rest of the article - it's really not very long at all.


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