The most interesting Jew in the world doesn’t always drink plum brandy, but when he does, he prefers Slivovitz. At least that’s what I imagine. You already know what beer he prefers.
That’s right: The Most Interesting Man in the World is Jewish.
His name is Jonathan Goldsmith and, like my grandmother, he is a Jew from the Bronx. I learned this and a lot more about the interesting real life of the fictitiously interesting man from this Talk of the Town from Nick Paumgarten:
A montage of highlights from the real life of Jonathan Goldsmith might include (had there been cameras present) footage of him rescuing a stranded climber on Mt. Whitney, saving a drowning girl in Malibu, sailing the high seas with his friend Fernando Lamas (the inspiration for his Interesting persona and, according to Goldsmith, “the greatest swordsman who ever lived in Hollywood”), and starting a successful network marketing business (“I was a hustler, a very good hustler”), which, for a while, anyway, enabled him to flee Hollywood for an estate in the Sierras. Among the outtakes might be glimpses of his stint as a waterless-car-wash entrepreneur. “I love the old philosophers,” he said. “I have a large library. I am not a die-hard sports fan. I love to cut wood.”
Read the rest here.
The Jewish Journal’s Adam Wills actually beat Paumgarten to this story, interviewing Goldsmith last year. The details are largely the same, though Adam included a few more. He wrote:
When he auditioned for the Dos Equis role, Goldsmith said he drew inspiration from a renowned Argentine actor.
“I immediately thought of my friend, Fernando Lamas, who was a great raconteur and a sailing buddy of mine. … That was the first thing that came to my mind, and it stuck with me after that,” Goldsmith said.
Despite the grandiosity of the Dos Equis character, separating the actor from his Latin alter ego is not as easy as it might seem. Goldsmith has yet to arm-wrestle Fidel Castro, but he has led an interesting life that includes saving two people from certain death and rescuing tigers.
Born in New York to a gym teacher father and a mother who modeled, Goldsmith was brought up in a family with religious grandparents and a great-grandfather who founded a Brooklyn yeshiva. He attended Hebrew school and became bar mitzvah, but these days he keeps his observance to High Holy Day services.
“Wherever the tickets are less than flying to Paris, we’ll drop by,” he said.
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