I can’t be the only one who recalls the “Borgasmord Kid,” Right? Because of his freckles and fiery red hair, he became a household name in the 1970s thanks to his appearance in countless tv ads.
When I saw how this former Hollywood celebrity appears now in 2022, I couldn’t help but be delighted and shocked at the same time. Today, Mason Reese is a fully grown adult.
We would love for you to walk with us down the path of remembrance as we take a more in-depth look at Mason Reese’s journey and how his life turned out after all of those great commercials…
Mason Reese entered this world in 1965; one might argue that he was born with acting in his blood. His father, William “Bill” Reese, was in the entertainment industry, working as a marketing service director and a set designer.
Mason’s mother was the famous actress Sonia Darrin, who may be best known for being in The Big Sleep with Humphrey Bogart (1946).
It is maybe not so surprising, given the history of Mason’s parents, that he found himself in front of the camera at such a young age. He was born and raised in New York City and attended classes in Manhattan throughout his childhood. On the Upper West Side, he received his education at the Saint Michael’s Montessori School, which is located in the St. Michael’s Episcopal Church.
Mason had his first appearance on tv in a commercial when he was just 4 years old. Mason was chosen out of a group of 600 other children who had auditioned for a job with a detergent company called Ivory Snow. This was one of Mason’s first jobs.
According to an interview that Mason gave to The Sacramento Bee in 1978, “they needed a kid who looked like he was only diapers and who was old enough to talk intelligently and – tra-la-la – that was me.”
Mason became well-known as “the Ivory Snow Boy” in Philadelphia and New Jersey as a direct result of the advertising campaign’s overwhelming level of success. At the CLIO award, he received awards for both his acting in commercials and his overall performance.
“Mason can’t do all kinds of commercials. He is neither a perfect white Protestant boy or a plastic person. He has admirers who find him attractive and critics who find him unattractive. Mason’s father, Bill, shared with The Boston Globe in 1973 that his son is “a very sensual and tactile child,” meaning that he enjoys being hugged and kissed.
According to Mason himself, the years between 1970 and 1973 were characterized by a lack of commercial performances. But around the end of 1973, a canned ham brand made contact with the little boy, a move that would impact the course of his life.
Mason became well-known throughout the United States when Underwood Deviled Ham selected him to appear on the cover of their renowned “Borgasmord” ad campaigns. Someone once asked Mason how many times he had to practice before he could say “borgasmord” correctly. According to The Boston Globe, the little kid with the unique voice and red hair just smiled and replied, “I didn’t. I got it right the first time.”
There are many various stories and explanations as to how “borgasmord” came to be created, and some people have claimed that Mason originally came up with the word himself; however, this is not the case. Mason tried to clear things up in an interview with Chris Yandek:
“It should come as no surprise to any of you that the actual word is smorgasbord. We all know that. I also remember that the director, who worked with the ad agent, was a man named Andy Doyle. Andy’s job was to sort of take control of me and get me to do what they needed.
“So I did not want to mispronounce the word smorgasbord because I knew the word and I wanted America to know that I was a bright child and I understood what the true word was,” he said. “So that’s why I didn’t want to mispronounce the word smorgasbord.” So, Andy was determined that I should mispronounce it. One way hook or by crook he was gonna get me to do it.”
So he wrote down 20 or 30 different words that sounded like smorgasbord on a yellow sheet of paper. And I read through them, and when I saw the word “borgasmord,” I thought, “That’s a good one.” ‘ Mason, you’re not going to believe this,’ Andy said as he stared at me with infinite wisdom. I asked, ‘What is that?” Borgasmord means smorgasbord in Swedish,’ he said. It was a lie. It was a complete lie.”
“And I looked up at him and because I felt smarter than I really was, that’s the word we went with. So, the idea for it actually didn’t come from me, my imagination, or my intelligence. It was really this man named Andy Doyle, a director who worked for the advertising business,” Mason said.
Many opportunities opened for the talented Mason as a result of the legendary TV commercial, and he once again won the CLIO award for Best Male Performance in a Commercial Television. Mason continues to be known as the “Borgasmord Kid” to most of us who grew up watching tv in the 1970s, but he also appeared in several well-remembered commercials as well.
Life became difficult for Mason and his parents to manage as a result of his celebrity status and the money that started to stream into his bank account. The good thing was that the Mason seemed to enjoy acting; he simply did what he liked to do.
“We’d stop it if we found out that acting was making him a smart-ass kid and making his life worse. We want to make sure he doesn’t lose the values we think are important. “It’s hard, too, because as Mason’s parents, we get caught up in it,” Mason’s father told The Boston Globe.
Mason comes out as a remarkably mature and humble young man when we look back at his earlier interviews. People adored his tv commercials, and he was well-known on the street and had received awards. Still, he kept both feet on the ground. To those who believed Mason was a megastar, read what he had to say:
”What? Who? I’m not a superstar. No, they’re famous names like Sammy Davis, Robert Redford, Paul Newman, and Dustin Hoffman. Not me. I’m just someone who’s trying to do his little part in TV – I make this sound like a tragic soap opera.” He told to The Orlando Sentinel in 1978, “I’ve been pretty successful so far, but I’m not a superstar.
Mason was a regular guest on The Mike Douglas Show at the peak of his fame. In fact, Mason came close to having his own program. Mason starred in a pilot that ABC broadcast on July 4th, 1977, but for a variety of reasons, ABC decided not to proceed with it. After that, Mason met with legendary TV executive and producer Fred Silverman, but he was never given a script that fit him and what he wanted to do.
“We’ve gotten a lot of parts that were really bad,” he said.
Later, when Mason entered his teenage years, the employment opportunities slowly began to decrease.
Mason chose to pursue an entirely other career after leaving acting. He started his own restaurant business and opened restaurants in New York City.
But it doesn’t mean Mason never appeared again on tv. No, he actually had a series of short comebacks. In the short film Whatever Happened to Mason Reese from 1990, he played himself. Then, in 2017, he produced a web TV series with renowned actors like Dawn Wells and Alison Arngrim. Mason’s first acting role in 31 years was in the Life Interrupted tv series.
Mason has now retired from the restaurant business, and all of his locations now are closed. Mason, a former actor, is 56 years old and reportedly still lives in New York!
The former actor is estimated to have a net worth of one million dollars by the website Celebrity Net Worth. His personal life and the people he has been in relationships with are mostly unknown, however in 2018, one of his relationships got a lot of media coverage. During that time period, Mason Reese was in a romantic relationship with an Instagram model who had 174 thousand followers.
Unlike many other previous child stars, Mason, who is just 4 feet 10 inches tall, seems to be living a happy and healthy life now.
“I just want people to know that in the end, I’m a very typical man—not necessarily living a normal life, but you know, I’m probably the average guy. Yeah. I believe that’s all. I’m happy with my work.” He said to Chris Yandek in 2015, “You know, I’m happy of what I’ve done and I definitely want to make my mark again.
Mason, thanks for all the wonderful memories throughout the years!
We wish you a lifetime of happiness and that people will take the time to recognize your talent and your contribution to the history of television.
Watch his legendary tv commercial video below, and please SHARE this story with your friends on Facebook.