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Charlie Tuna - Deep sea tuna fish featured on numerous television commercials for Star-Kist Tuna Company.

Charlie Tuna

Charlie  was a hip, tuna fish who wore a beret and sunglasses. His goal in life was to be caught by the fishermen who worked for the Star-Kist Tuna Company. Herschel Bernardi (died 1986) provided the original voice of Charlie Tuna.

Charlie's attempts at proving he was cultured enough for Star-Kist always ended with a refusal note attached to the end of a fishing hook that read "Sorry, Charlie" and one his fish buddies reminding him "But Charlie, they don't want tunas with good taste, they want tunas that taste good."

Charlie Tuna was created in 1961 by Tom Rogers of the the Leo Burnett Agency. Reportedly, the Charlie Tuna character was inspired by Harry Nemo, Roger's a beatnik musician friend from 1950s New York City. However, Maila Nurmi, who played Vampira, a horror show host in the 1950s claims that her friend actor James Dean created the Charlie character. She believes that the James Dean cartoon sketch made its way to an advertising agency which procured the idea for their own campaign. 

Rogers also worked such memorable ad campaigns for the cooking-baking Keebler elves who lived in a tree and finicky feline Morris the Cat who pushed products for 9 Lives cat food ads.

Ironically, Rogers whose claim to fame was a fish, drowned alone in 2005 in his family's Charlottesville backyard pool.


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