If you regularly watched television in the 80s, you couldn’t miss the cantankerous, yet lovable Clara Peller, the 82-year old star of a highly successful advertising campaign for Wendy’s restaurants. A diminutive lady with a husky voice, her three-word utterance of “Where’s the beef?” became of the most fondly-remembered catchphrases of the era. Let’s take a look:
Clara Peller was born in 1902. She lived in Chicago area all her life and worked for 35 years, giving manicures in a local beauty shop. Her life might have remained relatively uneventful except that she was hired to serve as a manicurist for an advertising agency shooting a local commercial. One look at Clara and the agency decided she might do well in commercials herself. They put her in a Wendy’s commercial spot and, much to her surprise, she became one of the most recognizable faces in America.
Sadly, her time in the spotlight was short-lived. Although Peller had been a godsend for Wendy’s, they eventually dropped her from their advertisements when she made a commercial for Prego spaghetti sauce. She continued to make numerous commercials and even a cameo on Saturday Night Live, before passing away in 1987, at the age of 85. Meanwhile, it took Wendy’s five years to recover from the sales slump that occurred after discontinuing the “Where’s the beef?” ads.
Do you have fond memories of these commercials and Clara Peller? Were you one of those people that used her famous catchphrase at every opportunity? Share your thoughts on this memorable product spokeswoman in our comments section as we fondly remember Clara Peller here at Retroland.