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Pop culture Q&A: Swiffer ad couple is real;'Dexter' star no longer married to 'sister'

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By Rich Heldenfels
Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Question: The couple who advertises Swiffer products (Lee and Morty Kaufman) is so adorable. Please tell us that they really are married to each other!

Answer: They are. Lee, 90, and Morty, who is four months older, live in Valley Stream, N.Y., and have been married for 44 years. According to, their daughter Myra recommended them to a casting director she knew who was looking for an older couple. Neither Lee nor Morty was a professional actor.

They had not used Swiffer before trying it out for the ads, and weren't even big fans of TV pitches. “I never even listened to ads,” Morty told “That was information that I was never interested in.” But their videos have had millions of views on YouTube, they have been interviewed about their new stardom and, if asked to do more ads for the product, “We would have no objections,” Lee said.

Q: I am a little late asking this, but what happened to the marriage between the star of “Dexter” and the girl who plays his sister?

A: It ended. Michael C. Hall, who played the title role in the Showtime drama, and Jennifer Carpenter, who played Dexter's sister, married in 2008 and split a couple of years later. According to E! Online, the official reason for the divorce was simply “irreconcilable differences.” There was some talk about Hall taking up with Julia Stiles, who had appeared on “Dexter” at the time, but Stiles firmly denied it to E! And Hall and Carpenter continued to work together on the series, which had its final episode on Sunday.

“The fact that Jennifer and I worked through whatever was going on with us personally in the way we did and maintained our commitment to telling this story was never in question,” Hall said recently, according to the Huffington Post. “It was always what we needed and wanted to do.” Added Carpenter: “Our marriage didn't look like anyone else's. And our divorce didn't either. So, I've said it before and we've said it before: Just because the marriage ended doesn't mean the love did.”

Q: Will “Mike & Molly” be back?

A: The CBS comedy starring Melissa McCarthy and Billy Gardell is in CBS' lineup for 2013-14, but not in the fall part of it. Look for the show later this season, probably in January. There's a full-season order of 22 episodes, and McCarthy is one of CBS' biggest stars thanks to her booming movie career — where she has had two 2013 hits in “The Heat” and “Identity Thief.”

So, why hold the show back? According to, CBS entertainment boss Nina Tassler said when announcing the network plans in May that “Mike & Molly” “is a show that we love, and it puts us in a great place strategically when we talk about getting more originals, less repeats,” (That is, by starting it in January, it can be rerun-free through the rest of the season.) And, Tassler said, “It gives us a chance to bring a show in at midseason ... that is a known asset, that people love.”

Q: After watching “Giant” the other night, I found it interesting how many actors were in that movie who later were pretty well known. How many are still alive and when did the others die? Wasn't one of them a quiz-show host? And how tall was James Dean? He looked pretty short.

A: The official website of James Dean lists him as 5-foot-10 in its “fast facts” but 5-foot-8 in the quotes section. Based on most accounts, he was not tall — and even the site says he was once told he was too short to be an actor. (His reply: “How can you measure acting in inches?”)

Dean died in 1955 in an automobile accident and his last movie, “Giant,” was released in 1956. The sprawling Texas tale had a huge cast including Rock Hudson (who died in 1985), Elizabeth Taylor (died 2011), Chill Wills (1978), Mercedes McCambridge (2004), Dennis Hopper (2010), Sal Mineo (1976) and Judith Evelyn (1967). Also in the cast, and still with us at this writing, were Jane Withers, Carroll Baker, Rod Taylor and Earl Holliman. All these actors achieved different degrees of fame but I don't recall any of them being a game-show host. (If any of you readers know otherwise, let me know.) But you might have noticed in the credits the name Monte Hale, who was a Western actor and singer sometimes confused with game-show legend Monty Hall.

Rich Heldenfels is a staff writer for the Akron Beacon Journal. Write him at Akron Beacon Journal, 44 E. Exchange St., Akron, OH 44328 or

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