Dog That Played Duke in Bush’s Baked Beans Commercials Dies of Cancer

Raise a baked-beans toast in honor of Sam, the golden retriever from the popular television ads

An icon of television advertising is gone. The golden retriever Sam, one of several dogs who played Duke in the Bush’s Baked Beans TV ads, passed away June 27. He had been suffering from an aggressive cancer.

In the ads, Jay Bush, great-grandson of the company’s founder, appears with a dog, who’s always called Duke. In a running gag in most of the ads. Duke tries some humorous scam to convince Jay to let him sell the family bean recipe, but is thwarted. And Jay Bush always delivers the line that's become a catchphrase, "Roll that beautiful bean footage!"

Sam hadn’t appeared in commercials in years, the company said in a Facebook post July 3, but he will still be missed.

 “We are saddened by the news of his passing and are grateful to have had him depict Duke,” the post read in part.

Duke may have been a character played by many dogs, but the human in the ads is real. In a response to readers who posted about Duke, the company noted, "believe it or not, the guy in the ads is still the one and only, Jay Bush."

A Facebook post by David Odom, who identified himself as a friend of Sam’s owner,  offered more information on Sam’s death. Odom said that Sam lived with his owner, Susan, in Apopka, Florida.

“She trains animals to work in commercials,” Odom wrote. “ Sadly she had to euthanize Sam yesterday due to an aggressive cancer he was suffering from. She is as we are heartbroken.


The company noted that because the character of Duke the dog is "iconic to Bush’s and so adored by our fans, we will continue to use him in our ads.” In Sam’s memory, check out the 15 best recipes for baked beans.

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