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How Jonathan Goldsmith Became “The Most Interesting Man in the World”

“The Most Interesting Man in the World would be from Brooklyn,” my friend Fred Diamond exclaimed. For Jonathan Goldsmith, that’s right where his legend began, Brooklyn.

In the 1960s Jonathan Goldsmith left NYC to find his dream as a Hollywood actor, he ended up driving a garbage truck.

Television Stardom

For Jonathan, his first role was on Perry Mason. He later won a role Gunsmoke by telling director, Marc Daniels, he could “ride like the wind.” The Brooklyn native had never ridden a horse in his life, leaving the director to exclaim “Like the wind, huh?”

Goldsmith won many roles in his career by agreeing that he could do whatever the director wanted:

“Well, I never turn down anything. I told everyone I could do whatever it was; high-wire, trapeze, didn’t matter. High jumps, falls, low falls, deep water dives, whatever. Sure. I went out and I learned as well as I could. For a hair tonic company, I once told him I could jump off of a train and I figured Gee if I broke both legs I’d still be way ahead.”
– Jonathan Goldsmith

He attributes this can do attitude as something he learned from his father.

He spent the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s as a supporting actor amassing over 300 roles as a journeyman actor. He appeared in hundreds of plays, movies, and TV shows, including Dallas, Gunsmoke, and the Clint Eastwood film Hang ’Em High (1968).

However, he could never hit the next level. Just like that, he left Hollywood.

jonathan-goldsmith-cigar
Success in Business

After he retired from his showbiz career, he found success in a network marketing company for waterless car-wash products. Jonathan found himself on stages in a brand new way and spoke all over the globe.

The economy shifted and the company lost prominence, and he was left wondering where to go next. There was one question nagging at Jonathan, he began to wonder if he ever gave his Hollywood aspirations a fair shot. He was left asking “what if” he never went back to Hollywood?

It was that thought that led him to pack up his truck and find the next adventure.

The Most Interesting Man in the World

In 2006, his manager that later became his wife, Barbara, secured a try out for him with Dos Equis. The night before the tryout, he slept in a campground before in his truck.

He arrived to see many Hispanic men lined up for the tryout and knew he’d had to come up with something extra special. He channeled his dear friend, Fernando Lamas, adding in a little Hemmengway for good measure.

Goldsmith then ended his act with one line, “And that’s how I arm-wrestled Fidel Castro.”

He knew that he nailed the audition, but his first priority was getting back to his truck that was double-parked. Some time went by with no communication with the casting team. One day, Barbara Goldsmith answered the phone to find they were looking for someone younger. To which she responded, “How could the most interesting man in the world be young? How could he have that life experience?”

With those words, Jonathan secured the iconic role.

and became so famous he hand to move to Vermont; he couldn’t eat dinner without being mobbed in LA.

It was that loss that pushed him back to Hollywood and helped him to find his defining role as “The Most Interesting Man in the World.”

The Parade of Life

For Jonathan, a large part of his life is about giving back. In fact he stated:

“Life to me is like a parade, most people watch it go by and live vicariously through others, some join the parade and participate in it. I participated in my life, and leave a legacy of being there, being a friend being a mentor and helping.”
– Jonathan Goldsmith

Jonathan has been an advocate for landmine victim support and has assisted the Morris Animal Foundation in their efforts to prevent and cure cancer in dogs.

He also supported the S.A.B.R.E Foundation, Free Arts for Abused Children, which pairs artists with children in protective custody, and the Stella Link Foundation, a group calling attention to child sex trafficking in Cambodia.

Jonathan Goldsmith sits down with me, Jeremy Ryan Slate, on the latest episode of the Create Your Own Life Show.