11 Amazing Actors Who Appeared in Commercials


Who can resist the allure of cold, hard cash? For that matter, who can resist it when the finished product is only a minute or two long? No, these folks aren’t just lending their voices. For better or worse, you can see their faces and everything.

1. Sir Laurence Olivier for Polaroid

Olivier did only one commercial in his career, this 1972 spot for the Polaroid SX-70. He was paid $350,000, and insisted that it not be shown in England. He still makes a persuasive case!

2. Nancy Marchand for Wonder Bread

Known for her ferocious portrayal of mob matriarch Livia Soprano in The Sopranos, Marchand also played newspaper publisher Margaret Pynchon in Lou Grant (1977 to 1982). It’s that earlier role that seems to inform this spot, which uses Marchand’s no-nonsense delivery to tout the health benefits of white bread.

3. James Gandolfini for American Airlines

Staying with Sopranos cast members for a moment, Tony Soprano himself (also known as James Gandolfini) starred in a series of spots for the air carrier.

4. Al Pacino for Sky Fibre

Pacino’s known for playing outrageous guys in films such as Scarface and Scent of a Woman, so it’s no great stretch to imagine him living the crazed life shown here. But why the commercial ends up being a British spot for broadband internet—well, that’s a greater mystery.

5. Orson Welles for Paul Masson

In his later years, master director and actor Welles was in dire straits. He could never find the financing needed to produce or finish the ambitious films he envisioned, so he tried to work his way to solvency. He appeared in many commercials, and in nearly any film that would have him. His spots for Paul Masson wines are some of his most famous—although he clearly wasn’t the easiest person to work with.

6. Robert DeNiro for American Express

There’s a twofer going on in this ad, an especially lustrous example of the celebrity-driven spots that have long been an American Express trademark. The star is Robert DeNiro (who manages to work in some promo for his Tribeca Film Festival) and the director is longtime DeNiro collaborator Martin Scorsese. If all this seems too highfalutin for you, you can always check out DeNiro in this pre-fame car ad. Or perhaps dressed up as a pilgrim.

7. Meryl Streep, also for American Express

We said it was a trademark.

8. Kevin Spacey for Olympus

There must be something about cameras and heavy-hitting actors. Here Mr. House of Cards himself, Kevin Spacey, makes the case for the Olympus Pen camera.

9. Bill Murray for the Charleston RiverDogs

As explained in the ad itself, actor and comedian Murray co-owns the minor league Charleston (S.C.) RiverDogs. He also serves as their “Director of Fun.” A pre-existing hall-of-fame speech is used as source material for this commercial, which is better than Garfield.

10. Jimmy Stewart for Firestone Tires

Screen icon Stewart’s career was on a downward slope by the late ’70s and early ’80s, when he starred in a series of elaborate ads (check out the period costumes!) for Firestone tires. But his contract with the company was still worth some $1 million. According to a spokesman, Stewart had ''warm personal relations with the Firestone family.” A cool million will do that.

11. Bette Davis for General Electric

Television was in its infancy in 1933, when a young Davis appeared in this promotional film for GE’s astonishing appliances. But it wasn’t meant for TV—it was instead shown in movie theaters, where such ads were becoming a controversial way to pitch products.

Bain News Service - Library of Congress, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
10 Pats Born on St. Patrick's Day
A photo from the 1919 wedding of Princess Patricia of Connaught to the Hon. Alexander Ramsay.
A photo from the 1919 wedding of Princess Patricia of Connaught to the Hon. Alexander Ramsay.
Bain News Service - Library of Congress, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Need some St. Patrick's Day conversation fodder that doesn't involve leprechauns or four-leaf clovers? Ask your friends to name a "Pat" born on St. Patrick's Day. If they can't, they owe you a drink—then you can wow them with this list of 10.


Princess Patricia was the granddaughter of Queen Victoria, who gave up all of her royal titles when she married a commoner. She was born at Buckingham Palace on March 17, 1886.


The Dallas star was born on March 17, 1949. And here's a totally random fact about Duffy: His nephew is Barry Zito, former MLB pitcher for the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants.


Pattie Boyd
Larry Ellis, Express/Getty Images

Pattie Boyd is well-known to lovers of classic rock: She has been married three times, including once to George Harrison and once to Eric Clapton, who both wrote a couple of the most romantic songs in rock history in her honor (including The Beatles's "Something" and Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight"). Boyd was a model when she met Harrison on the set of A Hard Day's Night in 1964; the pair were married two years later. They divorced in 1977 and she married Clapton, Harrison's close friend, in 1979. She also had an affair with Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones toward the end of her marriage to The Quiet Beatle.


Belfast-born Pat Rice is a former footballer and coach who spent the bulk of his career with Arsenal F.C. (that's "football club," a.k.a. soccer to us Americans). He joined the Gunners in 1964 as a mere apprentice, turning pro a couple of years later. He became captain in 1977 and left the club for a few years in the early 1980s to go to Watford, but returned after he retired from playing in 1984. In 2012, after nearly 30 years with the organization, he announced his retirement.


Patty Maloney is an actress with dwarfism who stands just three feet, 11 inches tall. She has appeared in many movies and T.V. shows over the years, including operating the Crypt Keeper puppet in Tales from the Crypt. She also played Chewbacca's son Lumpy in The Star Wars Holiday Special.


Michael C. Hall and Mathew St. Patrick in 'Six Feet Under'

Ok, so Mathew St. Patrick is the stage name of the actor, but he was born Patrick Matthews in Philadelphia on March 17, 1968. You probably know him best as David's boyfriend Keith on Six Feet Under.


He may not be a household name, but the recording artists Patrick Adams writes for and helps produce certainly are. Adams has been involved in the careers of Salt-N-Pepa, Sister Sledge, Gladys Knight, Rick James, and Coolio, among others.


It's possible you look at Patrick McDonnell's work every day, depending on which comics your newspaper carries. McDonnell draws a strip called Mutts featuring a dog and a cat named Earl and Mooch, respectively. Charles Schulz called it one of the best comic strips of all time.


 Singer/Guitarist Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins performs onstage during Live Earth New York at Giants Stadium on July 7, 2007 in East Rutherford, New Jersey
Evan Agostini, Getty Images

Yes, you know him better as just plain old Billy Corgan: he's the face of the Smashing Pumpkins, engages in public feuds with Courtney Love, and maybe once dated Jessica Simpson. He made his debut on March 17, 1967.


Patricia Ford is a retired model probably best known for her Playboy photoshoots in the 1990s.

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11 Incredible Stephen Hawking Quotes
Getty Images
Getty Images

When Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with motor neurone disease at age 21, doctors thought he'd only survive a few more years. But the theoretical physicist defied the odds: Hawking, who passed away yesterday, lived to be 76. Here are 11 quotes from the director of research and founder of the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology at Cambridge and author of A Brief History of Time


"At school, I was never more than about halfway up the class. It was a very bright class. My classwork was very untidy, and my handwriting was the despair of my teachers. But my classmates gave me the nickname Einstein, so presumably they saw signs of something better. When I was twelve, one of my friends bet another friend a bag of sweets that I would never come to anything. I don't know if this bet was ever settled, and if so, which way it was decided."

— From the lecture "My Brief History," 2010


"If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn't turn out well for the Native Americans. We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn't want to meet."

— From Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking, 2010


“I wouldn’t compare it to sex, but it lasts longer.”

— From a lecture at Arizona State University, April 2011


"If you are disabled, it is probably not your fault, but it is no good blaming the world or expecting it to take pity on you. One has to have a positive attitude and must make the best of the situation that one finds oneself in; if one is physically disabled, one cannot afford to be psychologically disabled as well. In my opinion, one should concentrate on activities in which one's physical disability will not present a serious handicap. I am afraid that Olympic Games for the disabled do not appeal to me, but it is easy for me to say that because I never liked athletics anyway. On the other hand, science is a very good area for disabled people because it goes on mainly in the mind. Of course, most kinds of experimental work are probably ruled out for most such people, but theoretical work is almost ideal. My disabilities have not been a significant handicap in my field, which is theoretical physics. Indeed, they have helped me in a way by shielding me from lecturing and administrative work that I would otherwise have been involved in. I have managed, however, only because of the large amount of help I have received from my wife, children, colleagues and students. I find that people in general are very ready to help, but you should encourage them to feel that their efforts to aid you are worthwhile by doing as well as you possibly can."

— From "Handicapped People and Science," Science Digest 92, No. 9, September 1984


"I would go back to 1967, and the birth of my first child, Robert. My three children have brought me great joy."

— To The New York Times, May 2011


"I have noticed that even people who claim everything is predetermined and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road."

— From Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays


"There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, [and] science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win, because it works."

— To Diane Sawyer/ABC News, June 2010


"Next time someone complains that you have made a mistake, tell him that may be a good thing. Because without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist."

— From Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking, 2010

9. On HIS I.Q.

"I have no idea. People who boast about their I.Q. are losers."

— To The New York Times, December 2004


“They are a complete mystery.”

— To New Scientist, January 2012


"One, remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Two, never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it. Three, if you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don't throw it away."

— To Diane Sawyer/ABC News, June 2010


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