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He’s tHe man His sweat is the cure for the common cold. His pillow is cool on BOTH sides. He once won the Tour de France, but was disqualified for riding a unicycle. In museums, he’s allowed to touch the art. His passport requires no photograph. Chalk up these whacky tongue-in-cheek lines to Dos Equis’ brilliantly witty ‘The Most Interesting Man in the World’ ad campaign. Like a string of Henny Youngman zingers, they’re so absurdly clever, you just have to snicker. Maybe the most interesting fact about Jonathan Goldsmith, the actor who portrays The Most Interesting Man in the World, is that he’s really not Latino at all, but a nice Jewish boy from the Bronx—and that’s not a joke. ‘The man’ calls me from his home in Vermont, and shares how, but for his quick-thinking agent, he nearly lost the break of a lifetime. “I wasn’t right for the part,” Goldsmith admits in his gravelly voice. “The casting started with about 500 Latinolooking men and whittled down to 200, before ending with just three of us. My agent, Barbara, received a call from the ad agency saying that the Dos Equis people really liked me, but they wanted to go a little younger.” That could easily have been the end of the story. No commercials, no billboards, no residuals. (Imagine the residuals?) But Barbara saved the day by firing back with the fifteen golden words Goldsmith should tattoo on his right cheek: ‘HOW CAN THE MOST INTERESTING MAN IN THE WORLD BE YOUNG? IT TAKES LIFE EXPERIENCE.’

of his second campaign. Barbara and I stood in line for a 10-second photo op. When he saw me he actually said, ‘Hey, the most interesting man in the world!’ Then, a few years ago, I was Obama’s surprise guest at Camp David for his birthday. I sat next to him for a few meals and played all kinds of sporting events. And of course, I met Bo, his dog.” The third meeting came while Goldsmith toured the Oval Office with his friend, a White House photographer. “I’m looking around and my friend’s saying this is the president’s this or that and all of a sudden I feel some energy in the room and I hear someone say, “Hey man, how are you?” And there’s Barack Obama. We have a brief hug and he asks, “How’s Barbara?” and I say, ‘What are you doing here? And he says, ‘I work here.’ And then he gave me a pair of presidential cufflinks.”

Presidents take HIS birthday off.

And with that, the agency guy blinked. “You know what, Barbara, let me get right back to you,” he said. That was almost 10 years and a heck of a lotta commercials ago. Goldsmith, now a spry 76, and married to Barbara (she may not get the tattoo, but she got the man), describes his quiet digs. “I’m sitting in the den with a fire going. I’m looking at a clay vase that my stepmother made. In it are my father’s old paintbrushes that look like a bouquet of flowers. I have classical music playing in the background (‘O Mio Babbino Caro’). There’s a collection of my father’s old pipes on the table. Curled in front of the fireplace is Willie, my 150-pound dog. Out the front window, I can see there’s still snow on the mountains. It’s been really cold and I don’t know if I can take another winter here. I wouldn’t mind spending my winters in a bathing suit in a shack in the Dominican Republic. Honest to God.”

If there’s one thing about playing ‘The Man’ (forget the adoring public, shooting ads sandwiched between beautiful women, or meeting the president) Goldsmith is most grateful for, it’s spotlighting his favorite charities. He rattles off a few: “The Mines Advisory Group that helps people affected by landmines and unexploded ordnance. Hunger Free Vermont that provides school children with free hot lunches. The Stratton Foundation that helps communities in Vermont suffering poverty. Free Arts for Abused Children, started by Elda Ungar, that I’ve been involved with for about 40 years. It’s a group of artists who provide a non-threatening creative atmosphere for abused, neglected or impoverished kids. And there’s the Morris Animal Foundation that focuses on helping the health of animals through scientific discoveries.”

Sharks have a week dedicated to him.

Near the end of our interview, The Man asks me to hold on a second while he lights one of his father’s old pipes. He tells me the attorney who owned the local tobacco shop, and gave him this blend, recently passed away, so he’s feeling nostalgic. He slips into a reflective mood. “I’ve had an incredible life. I have a wonderful life…a wonderful life. I’m one lucky guy.” G

One cool perk of playing ‘The Man’ is the VIPs he gets to meet like, say, Michael Jordan, or the president of the United States, whom he’s encountered on three occasions. “I first met Barack Obama up in Burlington, Vermont, at the start

His organ donation card also lists his beard.

SPRING/SUMMER 2015 GENLUX 45

Profile for GENLUX

Genlux Spring/Summer 2015  

Genlux Magazine is a luxury fashion and philanthropy magazine. In this issue: Andie MacDowell Unretouched; Sexy supermodel Samantha Hoopes;...

Genlux Spring/Summer 2015  

Genlux Magazine is a luxury fashion and philanthropy magazine. In this issue: Andie MacDowell Unretouched; Sexy supermodel Samantha Hoopes;...

Profile for genlux