Anyone who has watched TV probably has experienced this scenario before: You are on your couch, watching a TV show or movie, and the commercials suddenly start. You don’t need more snacks and your drink is topped off, so you stay seated and wait for the movie or show to come back on. Then, one commercial in particular suddenly streaks across the screen, and you find yourself staring at a familiar face. Well, we have put in the work to identify some of these TV commercial stars. You might be surprised to find out who the hardworking familiar faces are in real life, not to mention where you have seen them before.
Diane Amos – Pine-Sol Lady
The real name of the Pine-Sol Lady is Diane Amos. If you think she looks familiar, it’s for a really good reason — she has been in many wildly popular movies, such as Patch Adams, Blue Jasmine, and Sweet November.
Paul Marcarelli – Verizon Dude
The “Can You Hear Me Now?” campaign of Verizon is a great example of an advertising campaign transcending the product it was trying to sell. Many people use the phrase, not realizing that it is actually from a commercial. Paul Marcarelli, the face of the commercials, moved on to Sprint when Verizon let him go. He is a movie producer and actor as well.
Stephanie Courtney – Progressive Insurance’s Flo
Stephanie Courtney, also known as Progressive Insurance’s Flo, seems to be everywhere at all times. She has been in several different television shows like Men of a Certain Age. She is also a member of The Groundlings, an improvisational sketch group.
Beck Bennett – AT&T’s Guy
Beck Bennett stars in the “It’s not complicated” campaign for AT&T/Direct TV. He is popular among comedy fans. Aside from appearing on the cult sitcom that is Arrested Development, he has also been a member of the cast on Saturday Night Live.
Dennis Haysbert – Allstate Man
Dennis Haysbert was pretty successful as the Allstate pitchman, though he also has quite an accomplished acting career. You may remember him from Major League and Major League 2, where he played the lovable (yet terrifying) Pedro Cerrano, or for playing the United States President that Jack Bauer was trying to keep from being killed on 24.
J.K. Simmons (Yellow) and Billy West (Red) – Yellow and Red M&M’s
Did you know that the faces (well, the voices) of the really successful M&M campaigns were very accomplished actors? The yellow and red M&M’s are voiced by J.K. Simmons and Billy West, respectively. J.K. Simmons’ performance in Whiplash earned him an Academy Award while Billy West is a very successful voice actor, who has been compared to Mel Blanc. Even the original voices of the colorful M&M’s were hugely famous. John Goodman and Jon Lovitz were the voices of the campaign in its early days in the 1990s.
John Lehr – Geico Caveman
If it is hard for you to picture John Lehr under all that Geico Caveman makeup, you are not alone. It is a task much harder than what it might seem. However, Lehr was indeed the character’s principal portrayer. Aside from being the Geico insurance commercial guy, Lehr has appeared in severa other projects, including starring on the TV series 10 Items or Less.
Jared Fogle – Subway
Jared Fogle went on to become an international sensation after he lost a huge amount of weight and became the face of Subway, the popular submarine sandwich chain. He was with the company for 20 years. Since Jared parted ways with Subway, he has spent his time …Yes. THAT Jared. He did leave Subway. You might want to lift your jaw off the floor now.
Laurel Coppock – Toyota’s Jan
Laurel Coppock, also known as Jan in those Toyota commercials, is an accomplished actress. She has been in films like Crazy, Stupid, Love. Aside from that, she is an accomplished comedian, yet another person on the list who had been on Arrested Development.
Edith Fore – The LifeCall Lady
Edith Fore became famous for being the original older woman in the “I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up” commercials. Did you know that her character actually had a name and it was Mrs. Fletcher? After she passed away in 1997, Dorothy McHugh replaced her, and then later Bea Marcus.
Isaiah Mustafa – The Old Spice Guy
Old Spice commercials are very popular. In fact, they have even been played in movie theaters. Isaiah Mustafa is not only an actor but was also in the NFL as a practice-squad wide receiver. Not too shabby for the face of the “Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign.
Eric Violette – FreeCreditReport.com Jingle Singer
You should not be surprised to hear that the voice behind the jingles in the FreeCreditReport.com commercials, Eric Violette, is an accomplished musician and singer.
Dean Winters – Allstate’s Mr. Mayhem
Allstate’s Mr. Mayhem is among the most recognizable “that guys” on TV today. Aside from starring in this highly successful marketing campaign, Dean Winters is also an accomplished actor. He has been on 30 Rock, Rescue Me, and the HBO show Oz.
Jake Wood – The Geico Gecko
Jake Wood was once the iconic voice of Martin, the Geico Gecko, until 2015, when he was replaced. However, the British actor might not want for work. He may not be really well known in the U.S., but he definitely is in the U.K. He stars on EastEnders, the popular and long-running soap opera.
Jonathan Goldsmith – The ‘Most Interesting Man In The World’ Of Dos Equis
Throughout his career, Jonathan Goldsmith has been in more than 350 episodes of television, including on classic shows like Eight is Enough and Perry Mason. However, he is best known for playing “the most interesting man in the world” in those Dos Equis beer commercials.
Vanessa Branch – Orbit Gum Girl
Vanessa Branch is Miss Vermont 1994. In 1999, she started being a working actress. She has appeared in one episode of Lost. She was also a background player in the film francise Pirates of the Caribbean.
Justin Hagan And Henry Strozier – Ocean Spray Guys
Hugely accomplished character actors actually play the Ocean Spray guys. Justin Hagan was in Party Monster and Shortbus, and Henry Strozier appeared in the movies Thirteen Days and Contact.
Jake Stone – Jake From State Farm
Did you know that the real name of the actor who plays “Jake from State Farm” is also Jake? Who said there was no creativity in advertising? Anyway, at one point in his life, Jake Stone was actually a State Farm employee. However, he appears to be doing well these days, having residual checks and doing personal appearances. We should note that he still sounds hideous.
Hallie Eisenberg – Pepsi Girl
Hallie Eisenberg became famous as the adorable little girl with a booming voice in the Pepsi commercial that went on to become one of the highly successful marketing campaigns in the 1990s. Since then, she has been in a few films, but you are excused if you have no idea what she looks like now. Someone you probably know, however, is her really famous older brother: Jessie Eisenberg, the Academy Award-nominated actor.
Wendy Kaufman – Snapple Lady
Anyone over a particular age will surely recognize this woman. She became immortalized after she starred as Wendy the Snapple Lady in one of the all-time most successful ad campaigns. After the campaign ended, she did two stints on Celebrity Fit Club, the reality show. In 2008, she moved on from Snapple under less than favorable circumstances.
Carly Foulkes – T-Mobile Girl
Carly Foulkes has a prettty successful modeling career. She has been part of successful campaigns for Abercrombie & Fitch, Macy’s, Tommy Hilfiger, and Ralph Lauren.
Milana Vayntrub – AT&T’s Lily
Milana Vayntrub has appeared in a large number of popular TV shows over the years, including hits like ER, Lizzie McGuire, and Days of Our Lives, the soap opera.
Geneva Carr – AT&T Mom
An accomplished actress, Geneva Carr was on the Broadway production Hand to God and her performance earned her a nomination for the Best Actress in a Play category in the Tony Awards. She has also been in numerous other plays, including the very popular Rabbit Hole. Not bad for an AT&T mom — not bad at all!
T. J. Jagodowski and Peter Grosz – Sonic Guys Part One
Since 2004 – with a short break between 2010 and 2012 – T. J. Jagodowski and Peter Grosz (right) have starred in a series of Sonic commercials. Often sitting in a car’s front seat, the two comedians banter and ad-lib about the popular foods and desserts of the chain. In addition to his steady commercial gig, Peter Grosz played a recurring role on the comedy series VEEP, and wrote for various shows like The Colbert Report, The President Show, and Late Night With Seth Meyers.
T. J. Jagodowski – Sonic Guys Part 2
Peter Grosz’s cast mate in the Sonic commercials, T. J. Jagodowski has built for himself a niche career outside of Sonic’s commercials. He has appeared on different television series including Shrink and Chicago Fire and has had roles in films like Hackers, The Ice Harvest, Stranger Than Fiction, Get Hard, and No Sleep Till Madison. On top of that, Jagodowski is a well-known improv artist. He has been part of the legendary Second City troupe.
Pete Holmes – E-Trade Baby
Comedian Pete Holmes is known for the HBO series Crashing, his podcast, and short-lived TBS TV series. Between the years 2008 and 2014, he lent his voice to the E-trade baby who talked about investing with a comically adult speaking voice. The campaign broadcast commercials during Super Bowls, and it developed a huge online following on social media channels like FaceBook and Twitter.
John Moschitta Jr. – FedEx and Micro Machines
We bet you did not know that John Moschitta Jr. was once a world record holder for being the “World’s Fastest Talker.” In the 1980s, he became well known for his commercial appearances. Moschitta appeared in a FedEx commercial that won awards in 1981. From there, Moschitta went on to become Galoob’s Micro Machines toy line’s lead spokesperson, appearing in more than 100 commercials for the said toys. Aside from that, he has released a spoken-word album and appeared in numerous films.
Joe Namath – Beautymist Pantyhose
New York Jets legend and Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Namath appeared in a lot of commercials at the peak of his playing career. However, the most famous is easily the one for Hanes Beautymist pantyhose. In the ad, the rugged sportsman can be seen wearing sheer nylons. He pokes fun at his own image of being a playboy and the concepts of masculinity often associated with professional sports.
Valarie Bertinelli – Jenny Craig
Valerie Bertinelli has been an American television fixture for almost 40 years, from appearing on One Day at a Time during her early days to her recent lead role on Hot in Cleveland. Towards the end of the 2000s, Bertinelli worked with the weight loss program Jenny Craig and became a spokesperson for it. A series of commercials showed her weight loss journey.
Mike O’Malley – Time Warner Cable
Depending on a person’s age, the first image that might pop into their head when thinking of Mike O’Malley could be as the host of Nickelodeon’s Guts, his role on the CBS show Yes Dear, or his award-winning performance on Glee. However, many of those viewers would probably recognize O’Malley as the Time Warner Cable spokesperson because of a series of commercials that aired from the middle to the end of the 2000s.
Edward Herrmann – Dodge
Throughout his long career, character actor Edward Hermann portrayed a lot of famous roles. He played U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt many times and Richard Gilmore on Gilmore Girls. He has also narrated numerous documentaries, part of his hundreds of credits. In the 1990s, he appeared in a long-running commercials series for Dodge.
Kelly LeBrock – Pantene
Kelly LeBrock is a model-turned-actress best known for her being in films, such as Weird Science, Hard to Kill, The Woman in Red, and Wrongfully Accused. She broke into acting by starring in a well-known commercial for Pantene shampoo in 1980. As a matter of fact, “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful” which was her catchphrase went on to become so common in pop culture at the time.
David Leisure – Isuzu
Actor David Leisure should be best known for playing Charley Dietz on the quite successful sitcom Empty Nest, but he is actually arguably best remembered for playing Joe Isuzu. Leisure in was in Isuzu ads playing the shady car salesman between 1986 and 1990, and once more from 1999 to 2001. Did you know that the persona has become so popular that Leisure continues to play a similar character in different commercials for businesses to this day.
During the first half of the 1900s, one of the most accomplished actresses in comedy was Martha Raye. She appeared on television, film, and radio. Her large (compared to the rest of her facial features) lips and her comedic persona got her nicknamed “The Big Mouth.” In the ‘70s and ‘80s, Raye used her nickname in a long-running series of ads for Polident denture cleaner. Her tagline was “So take it from The Big Mouth: new Polident Green gets tough stains clean!”