Dos Equis' "Most Interesting Man in the World" Is 83. See Him Now.
Jonathan Goldsmith played the dashing character in dozens of beer commercials.
What does it take to be dubbed "The Most Interesting Man in the World"? Well, according to Dos Equis, whose popular ad campaign ran for more than nine years, it takes being Jonathan Goldsmith. Ruggedly handsome with a head of salt and pepper hair and a full beard, Goldsmith became the iconic Dos Equis spokesperson in 2007 when he was nearly 70, topping off a long and impressive career as an almost-famous character actor.
The actor hasn't made a Dos Equis commercial in several years but he's still staying busy. Read on to find out how he got the gig in the firs place and what he's up to now.
He wasn't a successful actor right away.
Goldsmith grew up in New York City and graduated from Boston University in 1958. He spent a few years kicking around the East Coast before finally heading to Hollywood in 1966, he told Cigar Aficionado in 2010.
"California did not receive me with open arms," he told the magazine. "I worked anything I could to survive job-wise," he added, including construction work and driving a garbage truck.
He kept at it and eventually found his niche as an actor in Westerns (including The Shootist with John Wayne in 1976) and dozens of TV shows, including Knot's Landing, Gunsmoke, Barnaby Jones, Days of Our Lives, and Dynasty. All told, Goldsmith has 110 acting credits to his name.
But as he got older, the roles came less frequently. And he grew tired of competing with other actors for them, Goldsmith told Forbes in 2016.
"I had a rough time accepting it," he told the outlet of aging as a performer. "I was tired of being told I wasn't tall enough, short enough, too swarthy, too good-looking. I said 'Bulls***. I'm going to determine what I'm worth.'"
Goldsmith made and lost a lot of money in a controversial business.
In the '80s, Goldsmith quit acting to start his own network marketing company. It eventually grew to cover 37 countries and enabled the former performer to purchase a large estate in the Sierra Mountains, where, he told Forbes, he planned "to spend the rest of [his] life fishing."
Success was precarious, however. As Forbes points out, "'Network marketing' is often synonymous with 'scam'" and "the concept shares much with illegal pyramid schemes." Goldsmith ended up losing "a great deal of money," he told the magazine, because his "business partner turned out to be…not kosher." So, out of necessity, he decided to try his hand at acting again after a decade away.
In the mid '00s, Goldsmith attended a large open audition for the new Dos Equis spokesperson role. Marketing legend has it that he ad-libbed his audition, telling the casting agents a 30-minute story, in character, that ended with the sentence, "And that's how I arm-wrestled Fidel Castro."
The company replaced him with a younger actor.
Goldsmith played the "The Most Interesting Man in the World" in dozens of Dos Equis commercials, from 2007 to 2015. He based the debonair character, he told Cigar Aficionado, on his friend and former sailing partner Fernando Lamas.
"He was the greatest swordsman who ever lived. He was an amateur boxing champ and fencing champ, an equestrian, probably the most well-known actor in South America," Goldsmith said of Lamas. "And he bedded probably every woman, and their housekeepers, in Hollywood."
But after eight years with Goldsmith as the brand's face, Dos Equis decided to take their adverts in another direction. So in 2017, they wound up Goldsmith's time as spokesperson by blasting his character off into space.
"Culture has changed very dramatically," Andrew Katz, vice president of marketing for Dos Equis, told USA Today in 2017. "Our Millennial drinker has changed quite dramatically, and the competition has only exploded with the advent of craft [beer]. We just want to make sure that the [Most Interesting Man] story evolves."
The company hired a younger "Most Interesting Man"—Augustin Legrand—in 2016, but fans didn't respond enthusiastically, so they retired the character completely in 2018. "I'm sorry that it didn't continue on, but it wasn't the actor's fault," Goldsmith told Esquire when that happened. "[Legrand] was a charming fellow."
In 2017, capitalizing on his time with Dos Equis and his larger than life character, Goldsmith published a memoir: Stay Interesting: I Don't Always Tell Stories About My Life, But When I Do They're True and Amazing.
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He became the spokesperson for another brand.
Fortunately, that wasn't all for Goldsmith and hawking alcoholic beverages. He became the spokesperson for Astral Tequila in 2017. But despite moving on, he still drinks Dos Equis, he told Esquire.
"I have an affection for Dos Equis—I have a long relationship with them, so when it's hot, and I reach for a beer, sure," he told the outlet. "And Heineken was always a beer that I enjoyed. I drink them both."
These days, Goldsmith and his wife Barbara reside in Manchester, Vermont. His most recent screen credit was a role in 2018's Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. And the 83-year-old shares glimpses of his occasionally fabulous and occasionally quiet life on Instagram: a photo with Billie Eilish one day and a fishing shot another.