GEICO commercials have featured some of the most iconic mascots in advertising history, from the unmistakable gecko to the hilarious caveman. The caveman ads, which first hit the air in 2004 with the memorable tagline, “GEICO: so easy, a caveman could do it,” most prominently featured one “caveman,” an actor made up to appear scraggly and ancient with a protruding jaw, crooked teeth, a creased forehead, and unruly hair. But the actor who got his big break playing this character is anything but Neanderthal-ish in real life.
John Lehr, who now-famously appeared in these ad spots as an offended caveman rolling his eyes at the tagline’s suggestion that a modern feat would have to be super-simple for someone like him to pull it off, exudes quite a different energy when out of the iconic makeup. While he’s got the same comedy chops he showed off in the commercials, he’s a lot easier on the eyes.
The caveman has had a successful career outside the cave
While you may only know John Lehr as the caveman, he’s actually been building a steady behind-the-scenes career in show business for a couple of decades. An actor, writer, comedian, and producer, he has appeared in hit shows like Friends and in movies like The Sweetest Thing, and he has also promoted other products like Tostitos and Pepsi before schilling for GEICO. It’s his role as the caveman, however, that has left the most lasting impression on fans, and the popularity of the commercials left Lehr stunned. He told Interviewing Hollywood back in 2007 “I’m stunned…I mean, it’s huge! My wife just recently googled GEICO caveman blogs, and it’s unbelievable. There’s a whole bunch of people out there who are fascinated with these commercials.”
And all these years later, people are still fascinated with the caveman; Forbes did a feature on Lehr just last year. But while the caveman may have been a major meal ticket for Lehr and may be his most iconic role, the face underneath all that makeup is one that may draw attention for a different reason entirely: with sparkling blue eyes and a warm smile, he’s quite handsome.
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