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Advertising and Marketing

Joe Isuzu Has Moved On --Honest

October 01, 1998|KEN WOO | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Despite roles in sitcoms and feature films, actor David Leisure is best known as the lying car salesman he portrayed in TV ads for Isuzu.

"I still get recognized," Leisure said. "I'll be walking down the street and people will yell, 'Hey, there goes Joe Isuzu!' "

Leisure, 47, played the smirking car salesman whose deals included selling an Isuzu for $9. Every time Leisure would offer a deal too good to be true, the words "He's Lying" would appear at the bottom of the screen.

The ad campaign, which ended in 1990, was an instant hit with viewers.

"The character I was playing became bigger than anybody thought," Leisure said. "In a matter of two weeks I was recognizable everywhere I went."

Leisure went on to play a wacky neighbor in the NBC sitcom "Empty Nest," which went off the air in 1996. Since then, Leisure has starred in a couple of independent films and appeared on an episode of the NBC sitcom "Caroline in the City" last year.

Leisure recently finished work on a direct-to-video release, "Baby Huey's Great Easter Adventure," inspired by the 1940s cartoon. Leisure says he's also taking acting lessons and learning to write screenplays.

"But I'll always be remembered as Joe Isuzu," Leisure said.

He's not lying.

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