When the time came for Jay Bush to appear in commercials as the spokesman for his family’s brand of baked beans, he turned to his Golden Retriever, Duketo, for comfort.
At a meeting to discuss commercial ideas in 1996, someone at the table suggested Jay tell Duke the secret family recipe for the delicious beans. At first, the idea seemed silly, but Jay whispered in his dog’s ear and the famous Bush’s Baked Beans series of commercials was born.
The real Duke Bush wasn’t a fan of the spotlight, however, so a look-alike professional dog actor was brought in to play the role. That was Sam. He's been in the commercials for years.
The company has worked closely with several dogs who portrayed Duke in its commercials. Sam hasn't been in any for a "number of years."
Sam, who lived in Apopka just north of Orlando, was put down last week after battling an aggressive cancer, according to David Odom, a friend of Sam's owner.
He added that the owner is "heartbroken by Sam's death.