At first glance, a memoir about Jonathan Goldsmith, the actor most famous for his role as a Dos Equis pitchman, would seem unnecessary.
Aside from his breakout role as the most interesting man in the world, which he didn’t land until he was 69, Goldsmith had few leading roles. So any real-life memoir would surely fall short of the imagined life of the most interesting man.
But Goldsmith’s doesn’t.
His charming memoir, which is a collection of episodic stories about his life, begins with Goldsmith’s childhood in the Bronx, runs through his lengthy career as a struggling Hollywood actor and concludes with the story of how he landed his most famous role.
Inside the book, Goldsmith recalls countless interesting tales, including competing with Dustin Hoffman for early roles in New York, rescuing a man from a frozen mountain in the Sierra Madre and secretly bedding Ginger (Tina Louise) from “Gilligan’s Island” multiple times during his first marriage.
On the topic of Goldsmith’s sexual conquests, there are many. He claims to have slept with two congressmen’s wives, six vegetarians, nine Buddhists, 18 nurses, 16 teachers, 11 subs, countless receptionists and one Miss Florida runner‑up, as well as many movie extras and one Academy Award winner.
Goldsmith writes that some of the women he pursued were married, and sometimes one woman would refer him to another. After so many years, he says, many are still friends.
In his acting career, Goldsmith appeared in hundreds of films and television shows, usually as an antagonist on shows such as “MacGyver,” “Knight Rider,” “Hawaii Five-O” and “Charlie’s Angels.” He was killed on screen by John Wayne in “The Shootist,” the Duke’s final role.
When he wasn’t acting in his early Hollywood days, he was driving a garbage truck. That’s partly why the memoir is so appealing. Despite his many accomplishments, Goldsmith remains humble and straightforward while imparting life lessons.
Of Jewish moments, there are a few. Goldsmith refers to himself as a Jewish atheist toward the start of the book and tells a story of escaping from a Christian boys boarding school with the only other Jewish student because they were afraid of a young neo-Nazi named Fritz.
Later, while struggling for money as a young actor in Hollywood, Goldsmith is tempted to steal a large diamond ring from an older woman who is interested in him, but he talks himself out of it by remembering that his great-grandfather founded a yeshiva.
By the time the book reaches its most interesting story of how he landed his most interesting role, Goldsmith satisfies readers with a hilarious casting tale.
In his late 60s and sleeping in the back of his pickup truck after falling on hard times, he lands an audition for a beer company looking for a young, Latino type. Out of around 500 actors, he secures the role by doing his best impression of close friend and fellow actor Fernando Lamas.
The full story isn’t appropriate for the pages of a family newspaper, but you can read it and more in the pages of Goldsmith’s book.
I don’t always read memoirs about the man who played the most interesting man in the world, but when I do, they are well worth the read.