Lee Kaufman, who starred in a popular Swiffer commercial with her husband in 2013, died at the age of 99 of complications from pneumonia and COVID-19.
Lee died in a hospice center in Port Jefferson, New York on December 18, her son Bruce Allen told the New York Times.
Lee and her husband Morty gained unexpected fame after appearing in a series of ads for Swiffer products nearly a decade ago.
In an interview with Newsday on Thursday, Morty recalled his “very cute” and “dutiful” wife.
Lee Kaufman, who starred in a popular Swiffer commercial with her husband in 2013, died at the age of 99 of complications from pneumonia and COVID-19
Lee and her husband Morty rose to fame unexpectedly after appearing in a series of ads for Swiffer products nearly a decade ago
‘She was a very sweet woman [who] loved to entertain people, was conscientious as a teacher and was a loving companion for 52 years, ”enthused her husband
‘She was a very sweet woman [who] loved to entertain people, was conscientious as a teacher and was a loving companion for 52 years, ”he enthused.
“So life is. It’s a long road and it has to end somewhere and one just hopes it will end peacefully. ‘
Before they got their roles in the commercial, the pair, who were both 91 at the time, had no acting experience. Lee had been a first grade teacher and Morty owned a pharmacy.
In the ad, the couple opened their front door to find a box of Swiffer products waiting for them. Lee shared her excitement at how easy it was to dust off while Morty sat in a nearby chair, yawned, and eventually fell asleep.
Once it was broadcast, the Kaufmans were brought into the spotlight and instantly became a favorite with viewers.
They were even invited to appear on talk shows like The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Good Morning America and became so trusted that they were recognized by strangers on the street.
According to the Times, some fans wrote to newspapers asking to know the Kaufmans were a real couple.
“The couple promoting Swiffer products are so adorable,” wrote one. ‘Please tell us that you are really married to each other!’
Lee had been a first grade teacher and Morty owned a pharmacy. Neither of them had any experience or interest in acting prior to the commercial
Frank Bele, Creative Director of the advertising agency Publicis Kaplan Thaler, cast the couple in advertising
The ad showed Lee excitedly opening the cleaning products and taking them to work while Marty yawned and took a nap
Lee was born on October 4, 1922 and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. She had a bachelor’s degree from Hunter College and a master’s degree from Queens College.
She met Morty, the father of one of her summer students, when he came to a parent-teacher conference. They married in 1969.
After full careers, the couple landed a late night appearance on Swiffer after their daughter Myra learned that a casting director she knew was looking for an older couple for an upcoming campaign.
Frank Bele, creative director at Publicis Kaplan Thaler, told the New York Times in 2014 that the concept for the Swiffer commercial was part of a broader campaign they called “the everyday effect”.
They wanted to use normal people in place of actors to show “how products made small things better”.
After meeting the Kaufmans, Frank said he was Immediately fell in love with her and immediately cast her in the commercial.
They spent two days filming at their Valley Stream home, with the couple engaging in “unwritten jokes while trying out the products.”
They spent two days filming in their home, with the couple engaging in “unwritten jokes” while trying out the products.
Once it was broadcast, the couple was caught in the spotlight – they went viral on the internet, got invited to talk shows, and was even recognized by strangers on the street
Her authenticity, her natural ability to make people laugh, and her real love for one another captured the hearts of viewers
They then edited the footage into a three-minute commercial.
Their authenticity, their natural ability to make people laugh, and their real love for one another captured the hearts of the audience.
“It was charming that they were real and not actors and they were funny,” Frank explained. “The stuff that came out of their mouths was gold.”
In addition to her husband and children Bruce and Myra, Lee also leaves behind the four children Morty brought into their marriage – Scott, Corinne, Warren and Douglas – as well as five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
“Mom never went out the door without a comment,” Oh, look at those flowers, look at those clouds, look at that beautiful blue sky, “her son Bruce told the New York Times.