You’d be hard-pressed to find a more iconic beer commercial than the one starring Jonathan Goldsmith, who has arm wrestled Fidel Castro, taken a speedboat with Miss Universe, and freed a grizzly bear from a trap — and those are just the tales related in three of the beer brand’s most famous TV spots. If you think the beloved beer commercial is just a clever advertisement (and your favorite meme), think again.
It turns out that the man who portrays The Most Interesting Man in the World may actually be the most interesting man in the world, simply playing himself. And watching him be himself just never gets old.
In our interview with Jonathan Goldsmith — who was so difficult to track down we were convinced he was actually piloting a private rocket to the moon — The Daily Meal discovered that the bronzed, bearded actor is not only a seasoned performer, he’s an accomplished outdoorsman, active philanthropist, and successful business man. Oh, and did we mention has even saved someone’s life… not once, but twice?
For these reasons, it seems his onscreen persona (one part Chuck Norris joke, one part Burt Reynolds in his mustachioed ‘70s prime) may have been inspired by his actual life. Even the vaguely South American accent Goldsmith sports in the commercials was directly influenced by his friend and sailing buddy, the perpetually typecast “Latin lover” actor Fernando Lamas.
Born in New York City to a model mother and a gym teacher father, Goldsmith worked a variety of gigs (read: an industrial waste truck driver and a painter) before getting a break on Perry Mason. After appearing on some 300 television shows (including MacGyver and Dallas), Goldsmith co-launched a successful business — Enviro-Tech International, a multi-million dollar direct selling company — where his income topped $1 million. But he didn’t stop there: Goldsmith returned to the screen after a successful audition for the Dos Equis campaign in 2006.
Despite moving into its eighth year, the “Most Interesting Man in the World” Dos Equis ad campaign has yet to fizzle out. Wondering why? Forget about staying thirsty, my friends: We’re ready to crack open a beer and the mystique surrounding “The Most Interesting Man in the World."
He lives in the mountains.
When you're not traveling the world wooing fans, where do you reside? We heard a rumor that you lived on the water.
“I did live on a sailboat for four years in Los Angeles [in Marina del Rey, California],” says Goldsmith, perhaps explaining why the actor appears so comfortable on the water in the Dos Equis campaign. “I now reside in southern Vermont, in the beautiful Green Mountains.”
He saved a man’s life (and a woman’s).
Saving lives is something that seems to come naturally to you. Tell us one of your infamous life-sparing anecdotes.
“I once rescued a man on Mount Whitney in the Sierras who was lost in a blizzard,” recounts Goldsmith. Mount Whitney, in California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range, just happens to be the highest summit in the lower 48 states — it’s a towering peak of some 14,505 feet. “I found him just in time to save his life.”
Goldsmith also reputedly saved a young girl from drowning in Malibu, California. (Who knows how many countless other souls he’s spared?)
Alexis Korman is a freelance wine, food, and travel writer based in New Orleans, and Contributing Food Editor at Wine Enthusiast Magazine. She’s also co-founder of an artisanal kombucha project, Big Easy ’Bucha. Follow her adventures eating and drinking around the world on Twitter @lexisips.