Hollywood, Here Comes 'Bobby'
Charlotte is losing a familiar character - one that inspires both affection and ridicule.
That's one of the many commercials for the Morris-Jenkins air-conditioning and heating company featuring Mr. Jenkins and employee Bobby sitting in Truck 17.
The actor who plays Bobby, J.R. Adduci, will no longer make any Morris-Jenkins commercials. He's going to California to give it a go in Hollywood. We caught up with Adduci as he prepares for the move.
On Playing Bobby
Adduci remembers the day 6 1/2 years ago when he agreed to play the part. This is how he recounts that day sitting down with company owner Dewey Jenkins:
"'Are you ready, JR? Now, before we sign this I need to make sure you're ready,' said Mr. Jenkins.
'Ready for what?,' I asked.
He looked at me really seriously and he said, 'We're going to make you famous.'
And I laughed in my head and was like, 'Yeah, right.' "
The Bobby Reaction
"After the first few spots, I started noticing people staring at me in public. I felt a little weirded out by it. I wondered if I did something wrong to them. Then they started coming up to me and asking me and I realized this is what people talk about. It's a local fan thing."
People ask him:
Do you really work for the company? Yes, as an actor.
Is Mr. Jenkins your father? No, but he's become a father figure in real-life.
Do you know anything about heating and air? Not really.
Life Beyond Bobby
"I trained as a classically-trained actor in New York City. I came back to Charlotte and took a three-year break from acting and decided to jump in to a play and realized I could still grow as an actor here and still learn. And I was able to do so many awesome plays with so many great actors here in town," Adduci said.
Adduci's roles in Charlotte have included Stanley Kowalski in "A Streetcar Named Desire" and the lead role in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." All the while, the money from playing Bobby helped pay the bills.
Moving on From Bobby
Morris-Jenkins was planning to end the Bobby campaign and the company paid out the remainder of Adduci's contract. With the unexpected windfall and now the freedom to do what he wants, the time is right for the move to Hollywood – something he’s said he’s always dreamed of.