It's been a rough year for celebrity spokesmen. First, Ricardo Montalban, one-time pitchman for the Chrysler Cordoba, passed away in January. Now, 87-year-old actor James Whitmore is gone as well.
Though Whitmore had a varied career, starring in everything from Planet of the Apes to The Shawshank Redemption, many will remember him for his commercial work from 1982 until 2002 for Scotts Miracle-Gro plant food. Viewers will remember that Whitmore, an avid flower and vegetable gardener, usually shown in khaki pants and a tucked-in plaid shirt, brought a craggy intensity to the role. (His Miracle-Gro spots don't appear to be online; posted here is an ad he shot for FirstFreedomFirst.org.) Whitmore was eventually replaced by Peter Strauss, who was 55 at the time, while Whitmore was 80. To underscore the new, youthful spin on the brand, the ads began to feature the 1976 disco tune "I Believe in Miracles." As Mike Rogers, president and executive creative director at Wolf Group in New York at the time, told The New York Times: "Gardening is fun, gardening is cool, gardening is sexy."
Perhaps that's true. In fact, it looks like Strauss may be the one to worry now, with this new, youthful competitor eyeing his job.
—Posted by Todd Wasserman