Readers, you know who Wayne Wilderson is. Maybe you don’t know his name, but you know his face. It’s the only part of his body you could see during his stint as the “Purple Grape” in Fruit of the Loom commercials. He was also in Washington Mutual Bank’s ads. Now his face is all over commercials for Chevrolet.
I have not been able to catch up with him when the Breck and Boston College grad comes to Minneapolis to see his parents, Frank and Ida-Lorraine Wilderson; both are psychologists, and his dad is a former veep at the U.
So we did this Q&A via e-mail. Based on how funny his answers are, I don’t know if this interview could have been better if done in person. The humor is uniquely Wayne’s.
Q You moved to L.A. with no intention of becoming a TV commercial icon, right?
A I did, but the Doughboy had already been cast.
Q You’ve achieved “That Guy” status in the commercial world. It’s a compliment and an insult. People know your face, but they don’t know your name. How do you feel about being “That Guy”?
A I LOVE being “That Guy!” “That Guy” bought me a house.
Q With “That Guy” status comes confusion in people’s minds about where they know you from. How do you handle the awkward Did-we-go-to-high-school-together inquiries?
A I usually say, “You don’t remember me, but we have a child together.”
Q Are the commercials as funny in their final versions as when you were shooting them?
A Sometimes. We usually have a great time with improv. Lots of the funny goes to the editors, also.
Q What kinds of fun stuff have you done that’s been left out of commercials?
A Got covered in saliva by a hound dog.
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