The Food Commercials You Didn't Realize Starred Leonardo DiCaprio

Most of us are used to seeing Oscar-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio on the silver screen. The star of hits like "Titanic," "The Great Gatsby," and "Catch Me If You Can," DiCaprio possesses some serious Thespian know-how. Clearly, he's been born with a gift. But he may owe some of his ability to the fact that he's been hamming it up in front of the camera lens for a very long time. 

While many people might think that he got his start alongside Alan Thicke and Kirk Cameron when he played Luke on "Growing Pains," the truth is that DiCaprio was gracing television sets way before that. Yes, the young star dazzled tween-aged consumers with his ready smile and golden locks in a pair of food commercials in the late 1980s. Whether you remember these commercials are not, the brands were a big hit and — based on DiCaprio's successful career — he was as well.  

DiCaprio enjoyed a brief connection with Bubble Yum

Any respectable Gen Xer will probably remember debating the merits of Bubble Yum verses Hubba Bubba. Yes, those were the days when life was simple and one's preferred bubble gum brand mattered. In Bubble Yum's favor, it was the very first soft gum, making it an original. And, its commercials boasted a soon-to-be superstar — none other than DiCaprio, himself. 

In 1989, Bubble Yum cast him in their new commercial, "Keeps It Poppin.'" Bedecked in a plaid blazer and tie over a pair of jeans, the too-young-to-shave DiCaprio compares the long-lasting staying power of the soft pink chewing gum to the raw stamina of a boombox attached to gargantuan speakers. As the music hits tinnitus-causing levels, the woofers explode, rendering the stereo useless. And, as DiCaprio points out, "The Yum is the fun that never blows out."  

DiCaprio has been known to get cheesy too

While Kraft Singles have been a staple in American shopping carts since June and Ward Cleaver visited folks in their living rooms, there was a shorter-lived variety of this cheese-that-doesn't-seem-like-cheese called "Free." Kraft Free Singles were touted as being fat-free and low in cholesterol. And wives and children alike were told to keep their hands off: These rubbery orange gems were just for dads. 

Kraft recruited a teenaged Leonardo DiCaprio to star in a 1989 advertisement for these cheese slices alongside a television mom. When DiCaprio reaches for the package of "healthier" Kraft Singles, his TV mother chastises him saying, "Free Singles are for daddy" who is watching his fat and cholesterol. In his prepubescent voice, DiCaprio whines that they make a good sandwich. The mother takes a nibble and decides they are pretty good — causing DiCaprio to "tsk tsk" her and clap back, "They're for daddy." The duo then decides to make themselves some sandwiches and "save a couple" of slices for the man of the house.

We may never know if DiCaprio actually enjoys a good wad of gum or if he has a penchant for cheese that resembles plastic. But we do know that directors recognized his acting chops at a very young age — and his countless fans around the world are truly thankful.