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Biography

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Overview (2)

Born in Chicago, Illinois, USA
Died in Los Angeles, California, USA  (heart attack)

Mini Bio (1)

Jack Somack was born on September 14, 1918 in Chicago, Illinois, USA. He was an actor, known for The Frisco Kid (1979), Desperate Characters (1971) and Carlton Your Doorman (1980). He died on August 24, 1983 in Los Angeles, California, USA.

Trivia (1)

Jack Somack acted in amateur productions for many years and didn't break into professional acting until his fifties. In films, he is probably best known for his portrayal of the father of Alexander Portnoy (Richard Benjamin) in "Portnoy's Complaint." But probably his greatest claim to (rather dubious) fame was appearing in the notorious "spicy meatball" Alka-Seltzer commercial in the 1960s. This was really a "commercial within a commercial." A film crew is trying to make a 10-second spot for a fictitious brand of meatballs. In it, Somack (who was Jewish) plays an actor playing a portly, mustachioed Italian sitting at a little table in front of a small oven. From his left, his ample, beaming "wife" places a plate of meatballs in front of him. Jack is supposed to eat one and say, "Mamma mia, that's a spicy meat-a-ball!" but something keeps ruining the take. After a string of blown takes (and meatballs), Jack is reduced to a helpless, dyspeptic stupor. Cut to a scene of two Alka-Seltzer being dropped into a glass of water with the appropriate voiceover. Cut back to the meatball commercial, where the next take seems to be going perfectly, until the door of the oven falls open with a clang. "Okay," says the director, "let's break for lunch." This commercial was pulled from the air after protests from Italian-American anti-defamation groups that the commercial promoted unflattering stereotypes of Italians.

Personal Quotes (1)

That's a spicy meat-a-ball

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