Entertainment Weekly

Stay Connected


Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content


Dunkin' Donuts' Fred the Baker Gets Dunked

Posted on

It’s no longer time to make the donuts. After 15 years of dutiful crack-of-dawn service, one of commercialdom’s most famous characters retired last week: Dunkin’ Donuts’ monotone, mustachioed baker, Fred.

”We are ready to focus more on the customers’ experience with our products,” says a Dunkin’ spokesperson of the character’s end. To honor this sad day, we spoke with Fred’s portrayer, 73-year-old actor Michael Vale, who’s starred in about 100 Dunkin’ commercials and will continue making live appearances as a Dunkin’ Diplomat.

EW: Has Fred made you rich?

Michael Vale: I get paid in donuts. That’s a joke! That’s one of my jokes!

EW: Are you worshipped by cops?

MV: Oh, yes, yes. Once I was driving and got pulled over, and I couldn’t figure out why. The cop wanted my autograph.

EW: Fred the Baker got up a 4 a.m. What time do you get up?

MV: On average, between eight and nine. I read The New York Times, have coffee, eat a bagel or a donut, and feed my bird.

EW: Have you ever actually made donuts?

MV: I’m on record as having made one. I didn’t add the sprinkles or frosting — I was too exhausted.

EW: Some trendy types believe Krispy Kremes are better than Dunkin’.

MV: They’re not in the same league.

EW: You had a bit part in Marathon Man. What was it like working with Laurence Olivier?

MV: It was the most wonderful experience of my life … He called [us actors] schmucks, but he did it with love.

EW: What are some of your other brushes with greatness?

MV: Barbra Streisand babysat for my son. She was very quiet and shy … She borrowed a pair of my wife’s red shoes. She stills owes us the shoes — and my wife could use them.

EW: Do you have a favorite Dunkin’ spot?

MV: The one with a split screen [and two Fred the Bakers]. I got paid twice.

EW: How about a favorite donut flavor?

MV: They’re all my children — I love them equally.