Theresa Howard points out that Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett and Ed McMahon aren't only dead celebrities, they also are dead advertising icons, each making singular contributions to the art
Jackson, 50, "set the bar for the corporate world to embrace pop music," says Ryan Schinman, CEO, Platinum Rye Entertainment, which brings together celebrities and
music talent for commercials. Jackson's famous Pepsi video set the stage for the future use of pop stars as corporate spokesingers.
(Phil Dusenberry relates some hair-raising
Michael Jackson's hair caught fire during the production of the spot in an excerpt from his book, Then We Set His Hair On Fire: Insights and Accidents from a Hall-of-Fame Career in
. For instance, in a meeting to nail down the deal, Jackson said: "I just have three things to say. One, I don't like the storyboards. Two, I don't like the song.
Three, you can't show my face.")
Farrah Fawcett, 62, got her start in showbiz by doing commercials in the 1970s. She appeared in ads for Noxzema shaving cream with Joe Namath,
an ad for the Mercury Cougar, Ultra-Brite toothpaste, and her own line of shampoo by Faberge, Howard reports.
Ed McMahon, 86, was pitching to the end. He appeared with MC Hammer to
promote Cash4Gold in a Super Bowl ad this past February, and was seen as recently as last week in an ad with other famous announcers for the New York Lottery
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