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You’d probably know him anywhere: the deadpan professor featured in Farmers Insurance commercials, in which he recounts stories of stranger-than-fiction claims based on real tales by policyholders.
In fact, J.K. Simmons has had parts in countless hit movies and television shows over his decades in the industry, from Juno and the Spider-Man movies, to Up in the Air and Oz. The Midwestern-born, musical-theater trained actor has made a name for himself in popular entertainment, but told AdWeek he kept his advertising portfolio intentionally minimal.
All told, Simmons is much more than just the Farmers Insurance guy–though he says he doesn’t mind if we see him that way.
Before the Farmers Insurance guy
In 2016, Simmons told AdWeek that he wasn’t comfortable being in commercials when he was getting started as a TV and film actor because he didn’t want to damage his credibility. However, he liked the tone of the campaign too much to pass it up.
Before he was the Farmers Insurance guy, Simmons appeared in countless iconic Broadway shows–“Guys and Dolls,” “Birds of Paradise” and “Peter Pan”–and performed in iconic 2000s films like Thank You for Smoking and Juno.
Others may recognize him from Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films, where he played J. Jonah Jameson, the editor-in-chief of the Daily Bugle. That role created the popular meme that involves Peter Parker asking for advance payment and Simmons laughing in response.
Simmons’s reign as J. Jonah Jameson has not yet come to an end. He has voiced the character in video games and in movies. He is also known for voice-acting as the yellow M&M, which is undoubtedly his most iconic advertisement credit after the Farmers Insurance guy.
How much is the Farmers Insurance guy worth?
J.K. Simmons’s illustrious career has earned him an expansive list of awards and nominations, including more than 30 accolades for his performance as Terrence Fletcher in the 2014 film Whiplash, for which he won an Academy Award, the Golden Globe Award and the BAFTA Award for Best supporting Actor.
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Simmons is worth a cool $20 million as of 2021. In 2009, he sold his Hollywood Hills home for $1.58 million, and in 2016, he sold a second Californian home for $4.495 million. He and his wife currently own a home in Studio City, which they purchased in 2009 for $2.5 million.
The legacy of J.K. Simmons
While Simmons is well-known for portraying the Farmers Insurance guy, he told AdWeek he was drawn to the role because it wasn’t a spokesperson role, as he worried that might endanger his credibility. But that stipulation doesn’t make his commercials any less memorable–or entertaining.
His acting chops and deadpan delivery have certainly brought the absurdities of insurable mishaps to life, and even as we cringe in secondhand sympathy for the poor policyholders who encountered a circus in an unfunny way or got dive-bombed by birds, we can also laugh a little bit.
That, as Simmons has said himself, is why he’s proud to be the Farmers Insurance guy.