The Coppertone Commercial That Gave Jodie Foster Her Acting Start

When you think of iconic actors of the last few decades, Jodie Foster is a name that immediately comes to mind. Foster made her professional acting debut in the TV series "Mayberry R.F.D.," and after a few years, gained a following after starring as Iris in the 1976 film "Taxi Driver." Since then, she's made her mark on Hollywood, appearing in the smash hit "Silence of the Lambs" in 1991, where she won her second Academy Award and Golden Globe.

Aside from her impressive resume, Foster is notoriously private about her personal life. She tied the knot with photographer Alexandra Hedison in 2014 after subtly coming out at the Golden Globes the year before. Foster shares two sons with her ex-partner, Cydney Bernard, and she's openly admitted that she hid her career from her kids in an attempt to give them a normal childhood. While it's unclear if her hidden success worked in favor of her children, we do know that Foster never explained her acting journey to her sons, including her very first gig in a Coppertone commercial when she was only three years old.

Foster starred in the 1965 Coppertone commercial

The Coppertone sunscreen advertisements are some of the most nostalgic ads that have since become an international symbol for sun, sand, and good times. The first one was released in 1956, with artist Joyce Ballantyne Brand using her own daughter Cheri as a model for the little girl in the picture. Over time, they became increasingly popular, featured on postcards, trinkets, and even billboards in and around beach towns. However, it was the 1965 commercial that cemented the Coppertone girl as an iconic symbol.

While Jodie Foster has earned a name for herself in the entertainment industry, she isn't the only child actor in her family. Her older brother Buddy Foster started his career appearing in commercials at nine years old, and Jodie would go with him when he would travel for auditions. Buddy landed an audition for the Coppertone commercials, but when he showed up, the casting agents felt like his little sister Jodie would perhaps be a better fit for the ad. Thus, Jodie Foster nabbed her first acting gig at age three, starring in the 1965 Coppertone commercial, bound to be remembered for years to come.

Working as a child wasn't the hardest time in Jodie's career

The life of a child actor is no walk in the park, but for Oscar winner Jodie Foster, booking roles at such a young age wasn't the most challenging time in her career. For her, becoming a teenager and growing into an adult while also continually booking roles was the most difficult part of being up in the public eye. In an interview with W Magazine, Foster opened up about aging in Hollywood.

"The biggest transition was going from being a young person to college and then becoming an adult actor," she recalled. "The work that I did between 16 and 22 — that is the most awkward place. But my mom just kept telling me, 'By the time you're 40, you'll never work again, so you should work as much as you can now because by the time you're 40, you'll be over.'"

Despite having a hard time finding her footing in her late teens and early twenties, Foster disputes her mom's advice, explaining that in 2024, she'll be the busiest she's ever been. Now that she's older, Foster says, "At 60, you suddenly realize you don't care about all the things that you cared about in your fifties. You get to support other people because you know it's not your time. There's something about being the wise one in the room that it's just so much more fun."