Those famous four words uttered by television commercial icon “Madge the Manicurist” helped put Palmolive on the map, beginning in 1965. Madge is on our “faux” cover because she was the first far-reaching image of a nail technician in the 20th century. Her familiar smock and warm client relationships brought national attention to professional nail care.
The gruff-voiced but friendly Madge sang the praises of the gentle dishwashing liquid to her manicure clients for 27 years. The gig landed her a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest running commercial character in television history.
To get her role as Madge, actress Jan Miner says she f auditioned like everyone else in New York. “I looked around the room and everyone was 17 years old and gorgeous,” says Miner, imitating what Madge would think, which was exactly the attitude the producers were looking for. Prior to her long-lasting commercial, Miner was taught how to do manicures by cosmetologist Belly Destafano. After five years of doing the Palmolive commercial, Miner was made an honorary member of the Manicurists Union.
These days Miner is enjoying the fruits of retirement and spends a lot of her time painting and sketching the trees that dot the landscape around her home in picturesque Southbury, Conn. Though her face no longer graces the tube, Miner’s Madge will always be remembered by the millions who welcomed her into their living rooms.
Editor’s note: A contribution in Jan Miner’s name has been sent to The Rex Harrison Scholarship Fund at Boston University
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