Verizon disconnects "Can You Hear Me Now?" guy

Thu Apr 14, 2011 4:43pm EDT
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By Mark Cina

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - You won't hear him now.

Verizon Wireless is taking its famous cell phone commercials -- featuring actor Paul Marcarelli uttering the phrase, "Can you hear me now?" -- in a new direction.

In a new profile in The Atlantic, Marcarelli says he was informed of the change via email last September.

"Don't feel bad for me, but I'm definitely glad that chapter is over," he said. "Most people my age are now trying to trade in their street cred for money, and I kind of made my money."

Marcarelli landed the role of Test Man nine years ago. At first, he says he was embarrassed.

"The reality was, it was a job," he says.

His contract obligated him to appear in 20-40 spots a year commercials -- in addition to numerous live events (including appearing in front of 85,000 football fans during the halftime show of the Buffalo Bills' 2002 season opener).

Says Marcarelli (whose previous work included an Old Navy commercial): "Up to that point, I hadn't played to a house larger than 99 seats."   Continued...