Clara Peller was a retired manicurist in 1984 when American viewers watched her demand Where’s the Beef?! in Wendy’s fast-food commercials.
Born on August 4, 1902, the firey octogenarian was an overnight success, inspiring millions of dollars of revenue in subsequent sales of T-shirts and underwear bearing the famous phrase.
Even Presidential candidate Walter Mondale used it in his campaign for office.
In 1985, Peller echoed her legendary refrain on a 45 record called Where’s the Beef? written and performed by Coyote McCloud. That year, she also appeared in a low-budget Neal Israel comedy, Moving Violations.
Peller made a fatal career move while appearing in a Prego Plus Spaghetti sauce commercial.
Wendy’s fired her for saying “I found it! I finally found it!” in reference to the protein in the paste.
Two years later, Peller died at the ripe age of 86 in Chicago, Illinois and is buried in Waldheim Jewish Cemeteries.
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