What does it take to be the Most Interesting Man in the World? You might think that it came easily to Jonathan Goldsmith, who a decade ago landed the role of a lifetime as the larger-than-life spokesman for Dos Equis beer. The swarthy salt-and-pepper stud could jump out of planes, wrestle crocodiles and bed any woman he wanted. Interestingly, Goldsmith’s actual life wasn’t too far off.
Goldsmith just released his memoir, Stay Interesting: I Don’t Always Tell Stories About My Life, but When I Do They’re True and Amazing (Dutton, $27), and in it, the septuagenarian recounts his rebellious childhood, his countless adventures traveling the globe, his struggle to make it big in Hollywood and his numerous famous friends, including President Barack Obama. We connected with Goldsmith via phone at his home in southern Vermont to discuss his life, his loves and, of course, what he likes to drink.
Are you really that interesting?
When people get to know me, they find I’m quite different than the character. I choose to live in Vermont looking at beautiful green mountains and forest. I prefer that to the lounge lizard I played on TV. I like a quiet, simple life. I have no trouble describing myself in some ways as a very, very lucky man. And I think I’m a really nice guy. I genuinely care about the human condition and want to make a difference. I feel like I’ve been blessed.
What was your greatest adventure?
I think it was the birth of my first son. That was the most incredible exciting experience. He’s now 45.
I suppose you’ve been to the Playboy mansion?
Yes, I have. It was at the beginning of the Dos Equis campaign. I went twice, both times for charity events. It lived up to my expectation, and my wife was there to chaperone me. She was my agent and manager and wouldn’t leave me alone. She said there was such dangerous potential.
Are you a beer drinker?
I like beer. If anything, I like the German beers.
What’s your go-to drink of choice?
I love tequila. There’s a brand called Astral that I love and also Sombra mezcal. I like the smoky taste of mezcal and love its mystique and what it conjures to me: rural Mexico and the agave cooked in these ovens.
Who is the most famous person you ever had drinks with?
President Obama. I don’t remember what he was drinking, but I had a Gin Martini.
Who is the best drinking buddy, famous or not, you’ve ever had?
I’ve had so many of them. The conviviality of drinking and eating with good friends is just a wonderful experience. It’s particularly interesting to see all of these mixologists and the wonderful concoctions they make. I like to drink, not a lot, but I drink consistently, every day. I look forward to it. I’ve never had a problem with it. I don’t like to get drunk. I like everything about a good drink because I’m a cigar smoker.
If you could have a drink with anyone, who would it be?
Pope Francis. I think he’s an incredible human being. He’s thrilling to me, and I’m a Jew. He’s an absolute treasure. Some of our politicians can learn from him.