Madge the Manicurist
THE PRODUCT: Palmolive dish soap
THE CAMPAIGN: It "softens hands while you do the dishes," Madge assured a client whose fingers were dipped in green liquid. The kicker: "You're soaking in it."
THE ACTOR: Veteran stage actress Jan Miner, whose many credits include six seasons at the American Shakespeare Theater, played Madge for 27 years, beginning in 1966. She died in 2004, at 86, not long after appearing on "Law and Order."
THE PRODUCT: Life cereal
THE CAMPAIGN: Mikey's brothers weren't kidding when they said of their younger sibling, "He likes it!" The cereal commercial ran from 1972 to 1984 and remains one of the best-remembered ads of all time.
THE ACTOR: Bronx-born John Gilchrist, better known as Mikey, appeared in the ads with his real-life brothers. He's now 49 and an executive at the Madison Square Garden Company's MSG Network.
Josephine the Plumber
THE PRODUCT: Comet scouring powder
THE CAMPAIGN: Josephine's helpful and friendly message is summed up in the tag line, "Comet gets out stains when other leading cleansers can't."
THE ACTOR: Former child actress and Shirley Temple co-star Jane Withers, who later appeared with James Dean in "Giant," first donned her plumber's overalls in the mid-1960s and kept them on well into the '70s. Now 90, Withers lives in California.
THE PRODUCT: Charmin toilet paper
THE CAMPAIGN: Aware that the toilet tissue was irresistibly soft, grocer George Whipple scolded countless customers with the catchphrase "Please don't squeeze the Charmin."
THE ACTOR: British-born character actor Dick Wilson appeared as Mr. Whipple in more than 500 Charmin commercials from 1965 to 1989—and made a comeback in 1999. He died in 2007 at the age of 91.
THE PRODUCT: Bounty paper towels
THE CAMPAIGN: Rosie showed how easy it was to mop up counters at her fictional diner with Bounty, "the quicker picker-upper."
THE ACTOR: Nancy Walker landed this gig in 1970 and held onto it for 20 years. Along the way, the TV veteran also directed some episodes of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and had a recurring role on "Rhoda." She was 69 when she died in 1992.
THE PRODUCT: Colombian coffee
THE CAMPAIGN: The fictional coffee farmer appeared in advertising as far back as 1958.
THE ACTORS: Havana-born Jose F. Duval, the original Juan Valdez, portrayed the character until 1969. Then Carlos Sanchez, an actual Columbian coffee farmer, took over the role. A coffee grower named Carlos Castañeda (no relation to the author) replaced Sanchez when he retired in 2004.
THE PRODUCT: Savarin coffee
THE CAMPAIGN:The "demanding one" chose only the best coffees in the world, and in the 1960s and '70s, that meant Savarin.
THE ACTOR: El Exigente wasn't actually a coffee aficionado, of course. He was "Fantasy Island" star Ricardo Montalbán's brother Carlos. The Mexican character actor, who played Gen. Emilio Molina Vargas in Woody Allen's "Bananas," died in 1991 at the age of 87.
THE PRODUCT: Folgers coffee
THE CAMPAIGN: From 1965 to 1986, a fictional Swedish woman was presented as the go-to authority on the perfect cup of joe.
THE ACTOR: Movie and TV veteran Virginia Christine played the neighbor who touted Folgers as "mountain grown, the richest kind of coffee." Her hometown of Stanton, Iowa, paid tribute to Christine, who died in 1996, by designing the city water tower to look like a colossal coffee pot.
The Maytag Repairman
THE PRODUCTS: Maytag washers and dryers
THE CAMPAIGN: For decades, Maytag hammered the idea that, since the products are "built to last," its repairman is "the loneliest guy in town."
THE ACTORS: Character actor Jesse White played the original Maytag repairman from 1967 to 1989. He was succeeded by several actors starting with Gordon Jump, the station manager on ''WKRP in Cincinnati."
The Doublemint Twins
THE PRODUCT: Doublemint chewing gum
THE CAMPAIGN: Wrigley introduced the gum in 1914, but it wasn't until 1959 that ads with actual twins first appeared, along with the catchy "double your pleasure, double your fun" jingle.
THE ACTORS: The original Doublemint twins were 21-year-old Hoosiers Jayne and Joan Knoerzer. Both changed their names after marriage and are now 79.
The Bologna Kid
THE PRODUCT: Oscar Mayer bologna
THE CAMPAIGN: C'mon now, let's everybody sing along: "My bologna has a first name, it's O-S-C-A-R. My bologna has a second name, it's M-A-Y-E-R. I love to eat it every day. And if you ask me what I'll saaaaaaay. Cuz Oscar Mayer has a way with B-O-L-O-G-N-A."
THE ACTOR: That's four-year-old Andy Lambros starring in this classic 1974 commercial. Cute as all get-out.
The Marlboro Man
THE PRODUCT: Marlboro cigarettes
THE CAMPAIGN: Until 1954, Marlboro was positioned as a women's cigarette with the slogan "Mild as May." Then ad agency Leo Burnett created the Marlboro Man, completely transforming the brand's identity,
THE ACTORS: One of the first Marlboro Men was stage actor William Thourlby, who neither smoked nor drank. At least four of his successors died of tobacco-related illnesses.
THE PRODUCT: Chiffon margarine
THE CAMPAIGN: After mistaking the margarine for butter in this 1970s commercial, Mother Nature is informed that "Chiffon's so delicious it fooled even you." To which she replies, "It's not nice to fool Mother Nature." Cue thunder and lightning.
THE ACTOR: Although she appeared on TV shows ranging from "NYPD Blue" to "The Golden Girls," Dena Dietrich, now 88, remains best known as Mother Nature.
THE PRODUCT: Federal Express
THE CAMPAIGN: FedEx's "Fast Paced World" spots from 1982 were all about speed.
THE ACTOR: "Motormouth" is John Moschitta, Jr., said to speak at a rate of nearly 600 words a minute. According to the "Guinness Book of World Records," he's the fastest talker on the planet.
THE PRODUCT: Wendy's hamburgers
THE CAMPAIGN: In this 1984 commercial, an elderly woman studies a burger from Wendy's fictional competitor and demands to know "Where's the beef?"
THE ACTOR: Peller, who essentially played herself, was a Chicago manicurist for 35 years before an ad agency discovered here. She made "Where's the beef?" one of the most memorable catchphrases ever. Peller died in 1987 at the age of 85.
Fred the Baker
THE PRODUCT: Dunkin' Donuts
THE CAMPAIGN:"Time to make the donuts," says sleepy Fred the Baker, who works around the clock to makes sure they are fresh day and night.
THE ACTOR: Michael Vale, who portrayed the sleep-deprived baker from 1981 to 1997, is best known for this role. But he also played Sam Breakstone, the dairy man behind Breakstone cottage cheese and sour cream. Vale was 83 when he died in 2005.
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