January 29, 2023

Do you remember the cute little ‘Borgasmord Kid’ with red hair and freckles who stole everyone’s hearts with his appearances in a number of commercials during the 1970’s? If you do, get ready to learn what Mason Reese is up to nowadays.

Born to parents who were heavily involved with the film industry, sweet Mason became familiar with cameras practically from the moment he entered into the world. Mason’s father worked as a theater set designer and marketing service director, while his mother was famous actress Sonia Darrin, who is probably best known for her role in The Big Sleep in which she starred alongside Humphrey Bogart.

Mason has lived in New York his entire life and attended prestigious schools, including Saint Michael’s Montessori School, housed in St. Michael’s Episcopal Church on Upper West Side.

He first caught the public’s attention with his first big commercial for Ivory Snow, a detergent company. Soon after, he became known as “the Ivory Snow Boy” and received awards.

Speaking of his son, father Bill told The Boston Globe in 1973, ”Mason can’t do every kind of commercial. He’s not a plastic person, or a pure, white Protestant boy. There are people who think he’s gorgeous, and some who think he’s homely. But he’s a very sensual and tactile child – he loves to touch and kiss – and he puts out good vibrations.”

In 1973, Mason was offered to shot a commercial for the famous brand Underwood Deviled Ham. This made Mason a star almost overnight. Soon, everyone was talking about the sweet boy with special voice who seemed to mispronounce the word “smorgasbord” in the cutest way possible.

Well, it turns out the newly-formed word “borgasmord” wasn’t something Mason invented himself. What’s most, he shared the story behind it once and recalled, “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 took a yellow pad of paper and he wrote down 20 or 30 different words that sounded like smorgasbord. And I read threw them and I looked at the word borgasmord and I said, ‘I like this one.’ And Andy looked at me in this infinite wisdom and said, ‘Mason, you are not gonna believe this.’ I said, ‘What’s that?’ He said, ‘Borgasmord is smorgasbord in Swedish.’ Which it’s not. It’s a total lie.

“And I looked up at him and because I felt smarter than I really was, that’s the word we went with. So it really was not me, it wasn’t my imagination, it wasn’t my brilliance that came up with that. It really was this guy Andy Doyle who was a director working for the ad agency,” Mason said.

Mason started earning some serious money and offers from other brands started pouring. He went on to be part of a number of commercials for famous brands, including Post Raisin Bran, and Dunkin’ Donuts.’

At the age of 13, Mason became a household name and many considered him a celebrity. He, however, didn’t see himself that way.

”What? Who? I’m not a superstar. No — Sammy Davis, Robert Redford, Paul Newman, Dustin Hoffman, those guys, they’re big. 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. So far, I’ve been very successful, but I’m not a superstar,” he told The Orlando Sentinel in 1978.

After appearing on The Mike Douglas Show numerous times, ABC offered him several scripts for his own show, but Mason and his family found them all terrible and the project was cancelled even before it saw the light of the day.

As he grew older, the number of commercials he was part of became fewer and fewer. Eventually, the former child actor switched careers and became a restaurant entrepreneur. All of his restaurants, the Pan-Latino restaurant located in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, the Destination Bar and Grille, as well as the sports bar The Luxury Box are now closed.

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