What it’s like to be the face of a company

Depressing look at the actors who became stars as the face of a company. Smiling Bob seems to be doing OK. Dude you got a Dell, not so much. Joe Isuzu took it pretty hard.

Playing Joe Isuzu was one of the greatest experiences of Leisure’s professional life. Letting the character go was devastating. In 1990, after four years in the part, Leisure picked up his mail one day and found a letter from the company. At the time, he was in negotiations to extend his contract for another year. His services, he read, were no longer needed. “It was chilling,” he says.

He grabbed a bottle of vodka. “Every half hour, I’d take another swig of vodka and read the letter again,” says Leisure. “Really? A letter? I was horribly upset. I’m only human. I was the personification of this vehicle. I could not shed that. I knew I’d be saddled with that for the rest of my life.”

Successful brand actors tend to rave about their time playing the face of a brand. Letting go is another story. For most artists, achieving a huge commercial success, be it a hit song or movie or novel, guarantees another shot at stardom; the opposite is true for most brand actors. Once you’re the face of one major product, no other major product wants you.

What it’s like to be the face of a company

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