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Geoffrey Holder and 7 UP
I was one of those kids who loved a good catchphrase. Even if I had no use for the product or didn’t even like it, if it had a decent catchphrase, odds are you could find me parroting it to no end.
Starting in the 1970s, 7 Up hired Trinidadian-American actor, Geoffrey Holder to be the voice of the uncola. And what a voice! Holder’s deep accented voice could stop you in your tracks and his natural charisma worked perfectly in short commercials.
I can still here that voice saying those famous words:
Crisp and clean, and no caffeine; never had it, never will.
Outside of being a long term beverage spokesperson, Holder was an award-winning choreographer and actor. His career started in 1955, but he is probably best known to American audiences for two roles. He played Baron Samedi in Live and Let Die (1973) and Punjab in Annie (1982).
Here is a commercial that captures Holder in action playing against a kid who is curious about 7 Up. Holder was 6 foot 6 inches tall so his ability to get down to the level of a child and interact with them, speaks to his abilities.
This commercial has the “never had it, never will” catchphrase as well as his signature laugh.
As the eighties came to an end, so did Holder’s relationship with the beverage. He did have one last 7 Up hurrah in the 2011 season of The Celebrity Apprentice where he appeared in a Retro 7 Up commercial.
While he might have stopped doing 7 Up commercials, Holder continued to work. Both as a well-respected painter and actor. Most famously narrating Tim Burton’s version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in 2005.
Sadly Holder is no longer with us. He passed away on October 5, 2014, at aged 84 of complications from pneumonia. While he might be gone, he left us with plenty of great performances and me with an overwhelming affection for Lemon Lime soda.