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John Gilchrist embraces being a child actor

He became famous at the age of 3 for his portrayal of Mikey in the Life cereal commercials and looks back at that time with fond memories.

By Cheryl E PrestonPublished 3 years ago Updated 2 years ago 3 min read
Mikey then and now

One of the most popular television commercials from the 1970s was the one of the little boy named Mikey eating Life Cereal. Two boys, presumably brothers are trying to determine if they want to try this new cereal. They are hesitant and neither wants to sample this food. They decide to give the bowl to a smaller child seated at the breakfast table named Mikey. The boys decide he won’t like it because he hates everything. The duo is surprised when the little boy eats the cereal as if he enjoys it. The announcer then states that everyone will like Life Cereal even Mikey. This commercial became one of the longest-running continuous television ads ever.

Baby boomers (those born between 1948 and 1964) are now between the ages of 57-73. This generation loves retro and all things that bring fond memories from their childhoods. Thanks to the Internet boomer kids can relive some of their fondest moments when it comes to television shows, movies, and commercials. Little Mikey and his siblings warmed the hearts of those who enjoyed the Life Cereal commercial and they can now enjoy the ad whenever they like thanks to YouTube. Baby boomers also enjoy finding out what happened to their child stars of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s.

Tom and Mike Gikchrist

The 3 and 1/2 year old who portrayed the finicky child named Mikey is John Gilchrist and his real life brothers Mike and Tom portrayed the boys who gave Mikey the cereal. The commercial was filmed in 1971 which makes it a half-century old. There are still people today, 50 years later who refer to finicky children as Mikey. The Life Cereal commercial ran nationally from 1972-1986 and John Gilchrist became famous without saying a word. All he did was pick up a spoon and begin eating and Americans fell in love with him. John and his six siblings all had acting careers as children and have said they made more money in one day than their father made working an entire week.

As an adult John Gilchrist made another Life Cereal commercial but it did not have the same charm as the original.The Life Cereal ad was a big success and increased sales of the product it was promoting. This particular ad ended up being ranked as the No. 10 television commercial of all time. Still today, little Mikey is brought up in conversation when someone mentions a picky eater. There were rumors some time back that John Gilchrist had passed away but he is alive and well.

John Gikchrist today

Unlike some other child stars, Gilchrist enjoyed his time doing commercials and has over 250 of them to date. John Gilchrist says he has fond memories of his childhood and his acting career and that he and his siblings used the money they earned from acting for college. Gilchrist obtained a communications degree from Iona College and works at Madison Square Gardens where he is a director of media sales. His primary function is to negotiate with TV advertisers, so in a way, he is still in the commercial advertising business.

Gilchrist lives in Pelham NY with his wife and 3 children and continues to enjoys signing autographs for fans. He embraces the commercial that gave him notoriety which is so different from actors who desire to put childhood behind them. Some television and movie actors are concerned with being typecast and no longer desire to be associated with the roles that gained them their fame. Quite a few don’t like to be called by the name of a character they portrayed but John Hilchrist has no problem being referred to as Mikey.


About the Creator

Cheryl E Preston

Cheryl is a widow who enjoys writing about current events, soap spoilers and baby boomer nostalgia. Tips are greatly appreciated.

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