Celebrity spokespeople have long been a favorite marketing tool of companies with products or services to sell. Some stars fit the bill so perfectly, that they became nearly synonymous with the brands they were paid to pitch.
From Brooke Shields and her Calvin's to Mark Wahlberg and his, click through our gallery as we count down our top 25 favorite celebrity pitchmen of all time.
When Bell Atlantic merged with GTE to form Verizon in 2000, it kept its famous basso pitch man, James Earl Jones. A legendary actor who also gained fame for the sinister voice of Darth Vader in the 'Star Wars' films, Jones became the voice of the telecommunication company in 1995. That he would become so famous as an actor and voice-over talent is especially amazing considering at the age of 5 he developed a stutter so severe that he refused to speak aloud. He remained functionally mute for eight years, until he reached high school. Next: Celebrity Spokesperson No. 24
Famous for his role as Captain Kirk in 'Star Trek,' Shatner is now in his 10th year as celebrity spokesman for priceline.com. Shatner plays 'The Negotiator,' who uses his unusual-but-effective persuasion skills to negotiate the best travel deals for priceline.com customers. In 2004, Shatner was also cast as the eccentric but highly capable attorney Denny Crane for the final season of the legal drama 'The Practice' and reprised the same character in the subsequent spin-off, 'Boston Legal.'
The football great and New York Jets quarterback (1965 - 1972) starred in a controversial commercial for Beautymist pantyhose in which he donned a pair of pantyhose and said, "Now I don't wear pantyhose, but if Beautymist can make MY legs lood good, imagine what they'll do for yours." This controversial ad aired in 1974. It was received with mixed feelings by a public that revered him. Nonetheless, Namath went down in history for it, making him as well known for wearing pantyhose as for his record-breaking stats. Next: Celebrity Spokesperson No. 22
Widely known just by his first name, Fabio is an Italian male fashion model who appeared on the cover of hundreds of romance novels throughout the 1980s and 1990s (source: Wikipedia). Fabio became I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!'s symbol of romance in the mid-1990s by headlining the brand's ad campaign. In 2006, Fabio passed the torch to soap opera actor Greg Vaughan. In 2007, Fabio garnered headlines for his restaurant altercation with actor George Clooney.
The younger brother of Donnie from the boy band New Kids on the Block, Wahlberg was known as "Marky Mark." In 1991 he became famous as a rap musician with the band 'Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch,' but was soon better known for his physique than his music when he landed the gig of Calvin Klein underwear model -- with a New York Times Square billboard to his credit. Today he is an Oscar-nominated actor with a solid film career.
LeBrock gained fame with roles in two movies. She played the mystery woman in 'The Woman in Red' and a sexy science experiment in 'Weird Science.' As a spokesperson for Pantene she helped popularize the infamous line, "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful." Since then she has appeared in a series of movies and even on VH-1's 'Celebrity Fit Club 3.'
Garner was already famous for his role on 'The Rockford Files' and Hartley for 'Peyton Place,' when in the late 1970s, they portrayed a husband and wife in a series of Polaroid commercials. As Garner explained why Polaroid was a great camera, Hartley would affectionately "zing" him. The two had such a chemistry that many people believed they were really married. According to TVAcres.com, Hartley even had a T-shirt made proclaiming: "I am not James Garner's wife!" Next: Celebrity Spokesperson No. 18
Pitched for: Christian Children's Fund; ICS "Train at Home" Program
The two-time Emmy-winning actress played Archie Bunker's daughter, Gloria, on 'All in the Family' from 1971-1978, but became just as famous for imploring us to "think of the children" in her 1980's commercial spots for the Christian Children's Fund or pitching the International Correspondence School's "train at home" programs ("Do you want to make more money? Sure, we all do!"). More recently, she has appeared in 'Gilmore Girls' and 'Still Standing.'
An Olympic skier, Chaffee was favored to win a gold medal in the 1968 games hosted by France. She finished 28th, but became a media favorite. In 1978, she made a TV commerical that became part of her identity as she announced, "Hi! I'm Suzy Chapstick!" The commerical made her a national celebrity.
Allyson appeared in a slew of big screen hits during the 40's and 50's. Her performance in "Too Young to Kiss" (1951) won her a Golden Globe and the 1955 Quigley Exhibitors Poll ranked her the 2nd most popular female star (source: Wikipedia). Despite her popularity as a movie star, many today recognize her as the face of Depend Underwear.
David Leisure played fictional character "Joe Isuzu" in a popular series of commercials for American Isuzu Motors. In them, he was a pathological liar who promised all sorts of wild guarantees about the cars he pitched. From 1986 to 1990, and then again from 1999 to 2001, his trademark signature phrase was, "You have my word on it." He also became well-known for his role in the sitcom 'Empty Nest' from 1988 to 1995, as well as numerous other TV credits.
Montalb'n is a Mexican television, theatre, and film actor. He has a career spanning decades and multiple notable roles. During the late 1970s, he was the spokesperson in automobile advertisements for Chrysler Cordoba (in which he famously extols the "Corinthian leather" used for its interior). From 1977-1984 he was the lead character Mr. Roarke in the television series 'Fantasy Island.' (source: Wikipedia)
Shields' best-known films are 'Pretty Baby' (1978), 'The Blue Lagoon' (1980), and Endless Love (1981). In 1980, a 15-year-old Brooke Shields starred in the controversial Calvin Klein jean ads, in which she famously says, "You want to know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing." Today she stars in the TV series, 'Lipstick Jungle.'
The world famous Yankee star had an amazing baseball career with 3 MVP awards and a 56-game hitting streak. Still a widely recognized name today, DiMaggio's endorsement of Mr. Coffee in the 1970s served to boost sales of the coffeemaker and earn DiMaggio the nickname of "Mr. Coffee."
Raye was an early television star when that medium was very young; for a while she had her own program, 'The Martha Raye Show' (1954 - 1956). Her title as "The Big Mouth" (for the literal size of her mouth in proportion to her face) made her a natural to be the spokesperson for Polident denture cleanser in the 1970s and 1980s. Raye's catch-phrase used in the vast majority of these ads was, "So take it from a big mouth, new Polident green gets tough stains clean." She died of pneumonia in 1994, after a long history of cardiovascular disease. Next: Celebrity Spokesperson No. 10
Brimley often plays a gruff or stodgy old man, notably on the 1980s drama series "Our House." He also frequently appeared in commercials, including a series for Quaker Oats Oatmeal that he did throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Brimley has diabetes and is well-known as the spokesperson for the diabetes testing-supplies company Liberty Medical. Brimley has gained notoriety for his distinct pronunciation of the disease: "dia-beet-us." Brimley admonishes viewers to "check their blood sugar, and check it often." Next: Celebrity Spokesperson No. 9
Back before "The Juice" was acquitted of murdering his ex-wife and her male friend, Simpson attained stardom as an NFL player. Soon Simpson landed numerous endorsement deals, including his most famous spots for the Hertz rental car company starting in the '70s. In one spot, which became iconic, Simpson leapt over counters running through an airport terminal trying to get to his Hertz rental car. The relationship with Hertz and Simpson ended in late 1992 when reports of domestic abuse surfaced. Next: Celebrity Spokesperson No. 8
Together with Lana Turner and Rita Hayworth, actress Jane Russell personified the sensuously contoured sweater girl look. A photo of her on a haystack as her breasts pushed against her bodice was a popular pin-up with Service men during World War II. In the 1970s, she started appearing in television commercials as a spokeswoman for Playtex "Cross Your Heart bras for us full-figured gals," featuring the "18 Hour bra."
Gifford's career took off in the 1970s as a vocalist on the game show 'Name That Tune with Tom Kennedy.' In 1978, she joined the cast of the short-lived 'Hee Haw' sitcom spinoff, 'Hee Haw Honeys.' Gifford then appeared in TV ads for Carnival Cruise Lines beginning in 1984. The ads were the first cruise line ads to air on network television. Her most famous television role was as Regis Philbin's sidekick on 'Live With Regis and Kathie Lee.' In 2008, she joined NBC's 'Today' show as a co-host of the fourth hour.
Henderson is obviously best known as mom Carol Brady from the TV show 'The Brady Bunch,' which ran from 1969 to 1974. In fact, Henderson was ranked by TV Land and Entertainment Weekly magazine as one of the 100 Greatest TV Icons. So it's no surprise that she was so readily accepted as the face of Wesson Oil (she's got "Wessonality!") from 1976 until 1996.
Welles first gained notoriety for his 1938 radio broadcast of H.G. Wells' 'The War of the Worlds.' Adapted to sound like a contemporary news broadcast, it caused scores of listeners to panic. Welles' first feature film was 'Citizen Kane' in 1941. The Paul Masson brand is best remembered for its 1970s marketing association with Welles, who promised for Masson: "We will sell no wine before its time." An infamous outtake for one commercial features Welles attempting to deliver his lines while inebriated. Welles died in 1985. Next: Celebrity Spokesperson No. 4
Jordan is a former NBA player and is considered by many to be one of the greatest basketball players of all time. But he is just as well-known now as a serial endorser. He has been a major spokesman for brands such as Nike, Hanes, Wheaties, Gatorade, McDonald's and MCI. Nike even created a signature shoe for him, called the Air Jordan.
Along with Orson Welles, Houseman founded the Mercury Theatre, best remembered for its 1938 radio adaptation of H. G. Wells' 'The War of the Worlds.' Houseman first became widely known to the public for his role as Professor Charles Kingsfield in the 1973 film 'The Paper Chase.' In the '80s, he became even better known for his Smith Barney commercials that featured the catchphrase, "We make money the old fashioned way ... we earn it." Houseman died of spinal cancer in 1988.
The Emmy Award-winning, Oscar-winning and Golden Globe-nominated actor is known for his career that spanned over seven decades and included numerous classic films. However, he became equally well-known for his series of American Express Travelers Cheques commericals that ran in the 1970s and 1980s. In the spots, he famously delivered the line, "Don't leave home without them!"
Cosby is a veteran stand-up performer who got his start at various clubs. He had his own series, 'The Bill Cosby Show' in the late '60s and became the spokesperson for JELL-O pudding in 1974. The relationship between Cosby and the JELL-O brand lasted nearly 30 years. In addition to pitching JELL-O, Cosby is just as well known for producing and starring in 'The Cosby Show,' which lasted eight seasons from 1984 to 1992.