It’s pretty sure that the iconic actors who left their mark on each generation weren’t practicing their facial expressions and their lines in the mirror thinking “Gee whiz! If only I could hit it big time and… just star in commercials all my life!”. However, there are quite a few actors who are thriving by doing just that – at least from a financial point of view, because we can’t really peer into their hearts and see their feelings about it.
We’re talking about those who are consistently picked as images of various brands (or at least one brand) and get paid handsomely to promote their product(s). So here’s 8 actors who thrive on their success as commercial stars.
1. Melanie Paxson
Her credentials include: acting in the drama club in high-school, working with the Chicago-based Steppenwolf Theatre Company, television work in the late 1990s (“Early Edition”) and the Nickelodeon show “True Jackson, VP”, as well as starring in the movie “Descendants” by Disney. However, she is probably better known for her roles in commercials for Red Robin, Gladware and DayQuil.
2. Stephanie Courtney
You can say that someone who has appeared on popular TV shows like “ER” and”Everybody Loves Raymond” is doin’ pretty ok. But when you add to that the fact that she is also currently worth 1 million dollars (according to therichest.com) and that she is paid 500,000 $ annually for just one character, things sound decidedly grand. That character though isn’t on TV or in the movies. It’s “Flo the Progressive Girl”, an ad character which she’s been doing for an insurance company since 2007.
3. Dean Winters
A competitor of Stephanie Courtney, Dean Winters has played the character “Mayhem” for the Allstate Insurance company, which was meant to draw consumers from the “Flo the Progressive Girls” campaign. Winters got 4 million $ for the commercials he made as Mayhem, but the company’s attempts failed in front of Flo’s popularity. He’s also starred in the “P.S. I Love You” and “The Conspiracy Theory” movies, as well as in the popular TV shows “Oz” and “30 Rock”.
4. T.J. Jagodowski
He is the image of fast-food chain Sonic, along with Peter Grosz. Despite the fact that he has starred in movies (“Get Hard”, “No Sleep ‘til Madison”, “Serious Business”, “Club 83″, Soul Survivors” and “The Mole Man of Belmont Avenue”) and TV shows (“Prison Break”), and that he is considered “the best improv actor in Chicago”, that hasn’t stopped him from working in Sonic commercials with his co-star since 2004. The result? He has a reported net worth of approximately 300,000 $, in large part due to the Sonic commercials.
5. Jared Fogle
This guy’s story is as cool at the beginning as it is not cool at all at the end. Picture him in college weighing ~400 pounds. Then picture him losing about ~180 of them in one year by designing his own diet which was based on Subway’s healthy menu items. Then picture him being contacted by executives of the company so he could be Subway’s face in a national campaign which led him to star in thousands of their commercials during the years and raising his net worth to around 15 million $. Pretty neat, inspiring story, huh? Well you can very well be pleased because it’s all true. What’s also true is that it ends with him being under investigation in connection with a child-pornography ring. So, it seems making it big after you’ve started from the bottom isn’t enough to curb some people’s darker tendencies.
6. Diane Amos
Or “the Pine-Sol Lady” as everyone knows her since 1993 when she started portraying’ this character which tries to convince consumers to clean their house with Pine-Sol. But she’s had other, diverse, appearances as well. Like: regular tours as a comedian in the San Francisco area, appearing on game-shows in the 80s (for which the story goes she was paid 50,000 $) and starring in the movies “Copycat” (1995) and “Blue Jasmine” (2013).
7. Jonathan Goldsmith
It’s not easy being “the most interesting man in the world” AND having a net worth of about 3 million $, earning 2 million of them from just one company. But it probably helps if the company in question is the Dos Equis beer company which pays you said money to PLAY the character of “the most interesting man in the world” and you do your job flawlessly and with class, like Jonathan Goldsmith does. Not to mention the Latino accent that is not his native one. And the fact that his style inspired the “I don’t always… but when I do…” meme. And he’s starred on TV in “Murder, She Wrote”, “The Fall Guy” and “The A-team” and John Wayne’s final project “Shootist” to boot.
8. Isaiah Mustafa
Another man with an impressive title: “The Man You Wish You Could Smell Like”. All because of the role he got from Old Spice, which made him be known in the media collective mind as “the Old Spice Guy”. And for good reason, because as advertising campaigns go, the one made with him for Old Spice is one of the most successful to date. Explaining his net worth of 5 million $. His past is pretty interesting too. He was a restaurant owner but it closed. He was an NFL wide-receiver for team training squads. And he has a history major from Arizona State University. Also worth noting, he got the Old Spice gig after sticking with acting for 10 years without any significant results. Way to go for the determination.