Childhood Stardom to Adult Resilience: The Mason Reese Story

One could say that when Mason Reese was born in 1965, acting was in his blood. William “Bill” Reese, his father, was a director of marketing services and a set designer for theaters.

Sonia Darrin, a well-known actress best recognized for appearing with Humphrey Bogart in the classic The Big Sleep, was Mason’s mother (1946).

Given Mason’s parents’ history, it may not be all that surprising that he found himself in front of the camera at a young age. He was raised in New York City and attended school in Manhattan as a young lad. He attended the Saint Michael’s Montessori School, which was located on the Upper West Side’s St. Michael’s Episcopal Church.

Mason first made an appearance in TV ads when he was 4 years old. Mason was chosen from a group of 600 other young children who attended an audition for one of his first jobs, which was with the detergent business Ivory Snow.

Mason remarked to The Sacramento Bee in 1978, “They wanted a kid who looked like he was just diapers and who was old enough to speak intelligently and – tra-la-la – that was me.

Mason became renowned as “the Ivory Snow Boy” in Philadelphia and New Jersey as a result of the highly effective advertising campaign. He received accolades for his appearances in the advertisements during the CLIO award ceremony as well.

Mason cannot appear in any commercial types. He is not a perfect white Protestant lad or a plastic person. He has admirers who find him attractive and detractors who find him unattractive. However, he is a very tactile and sensuous boy who enjoys being touched and kissed, and he radiates good energy, according to Mason’s father Bill, who spoke to The Boston Globe in 1973.

Mason claims that between 1970 and 1973, there were a few lean years for commercial jobs. But at the end of 1973, a canned ham company made a connection with the young child that would forever alter his life.

Mason gained national recognition when Underwood Deviled Ham chose him to be the face of their renowned “Borgasmord” advertising campaign. One day someone asked Mason how many times he needed to practice saying “borgasmord” correctly. The young child with the red hair and distinctive voice, as reported by The Boston Globe, simply grinned and said, “I didn’t. I was successful the first time.

Some claimed that Mason created the word himself, but there remain many different theories and explanations as to how ”borgasmord” was invented. In an interview with Chris Yandek, Mason decided to set things straight:

“Obviously we all know the real word is, you know, smorgasbord. We all know that. And I remember that the guy who was the director, who was working with the ad agent, his name was Andy Doyle. It was Andy’s job to kind of wrangle me, you know, and get me to do what they needed right.

“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 smart kid and I knew what the real word was. So, but Andy was determined that I was going to mispronounce it. One way hook or by crook he was gonna get me to do it.

So he jotted down 20 or 30 different terms that sounded like smorgasbord on a yellow piece of paper. I then read through them and thought, “I like this one,” until I came to the phrase “borgasmord.” Mason, you’re not going to believe this, Andy remarked as he gazed at me with amazing insight. I enquired, “What is that?” “Borgasmord is smorgasbord in Swedish,” he declared. which is false. It is a complete lie.

We chose that term because I felt smarter than I actually was as I looked up at him. So, the idea for that really didn’t come from me, my imagination, or my intelligence. It was actually this man named Andy Doyle, a director who worked for the advertising agency, Mason said.

Many doors opened for the talented Mason as a result of the legendary TV commercial, and he once more 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 television in the 1970s, but he also appeared in some well-remembered commercials for Post Raisin Bran and Dunkin’ Donuts’ Dunkin’ Munchkins brand donut holes.

Mason and his parents had a difficult time navigating life as a result of his stardom and the money that started to stream into his bank account. The Mason appeared to adore acting, which was encouraging because he was merely partaking in his pastime.

“We would quit if we discovered that the acting was ruining his life and turning him into a smug youngster. We want to make sure he doesn’t lose the ideals we think are crucial. Additionally, it’s challenging because Mason’s parents and I get sucked into it, Mason’s father told The Boston Globe.

When he was 13 years old, Mason spoke with The Orlando Sentinel and shared his perspective on fame and all that it included.

“In actuality, I adored it. People would call out “Hey, borgasmord” as I walked down the street. My name wasn’t known to them back then, but it is today. I used to detest signing signatures since there were always people standing over me, but these days I actually feel like I can manage it better,” he remarked.

I must admit that when I look back at earlier interviews with Mason, I see a surprisingly mature and modest young man. He was well known on the street, he received honors, and viewers adored his television advertisements. Even yet, he continued to stand on his feet. Please read Mason’s response to people who believed he was a megastar:

”What? Who? I’m not a big deal. No, those actors—Sammy Davis, Robert Redford, Paul Newman, Dustin Hoffman—are well-known. Not me. I’m just an individual attempting to contribute in a small way to television; I make this sound like a tragic soap drama. I’ve had a lot of success thus far, but I’m not a superstar, he said to The Orlando Sentinel in 1978.

Mason was a frequent guest on The Mike Douglas Show during the height of his fame. In fact, Mason came close to having his own program. Mason starred in a pilot that ABC aired on July 4th, 1977, but for a variety of reasons, ABC decided not to proceed with it. Mason then met with renowned television producer and executive Fred Silverman, but he was never given a script that suited his style or what he wanted to achieve.

He stated, “We’ve received a lot of parts that were absolutely horrible.”

Later, when Mason entered his teenage years, the job opportunities gradually started to decrease.

Mason chose to pursue an entirely other career after leaving acting. He started his own restaurant business and opened eateries in New York City.

But that doesn’t mean Mason never appeared again on film. No, he actually offered a number of brief responses. In the short film Whatever Happened to Mason Reese from 1990, he played himself. Then, in 2017, he produced a web TV series with illustrious actors like Dawn Wells and Alison Arngrim. Mason’s first acting role in 31 years was in the Life Interrupted television series.

In the sitcom, Mason Bells, a New Yorker who co-owns a bar with his ex-wife, who is now married to someone else, lives in a studio apartment above the establishment. There were a total of six episodes posted on YouTube.

Mason has since retired from the restaurant business, and all of his locations are now shuttered. Mason, a former actor, is 56 years old and reportedly still resides in New York!

The former actor has a $1 million net worth. His personal life and relationships are largely unknown, however one of them attracted a lot of media interest in 2018. Mason Reese was dating an Instagram model who had 174k followers at the time.

Unlike many other previous child stars, Mason, who is just 4 feet 10 inches tall, appears to be leading 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 pleased with my work. He said to Chris Yandek in 2015, “You know, I’m proud of what I’ve done and I definitely hope to make my mark again.

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