Whatever happened to the Dell Dude from Chattanooga?

Whatever happened to the Dell Dude from Chattanooga?

August 4th, 2013 by Tyler Jett in Local Regional News

In this undated file photo provided by Shaffer-Coyle, Ben Curtis, aka "Steven, The Dell Dude," stars as Christian in "JOY," a romantic comedy in New York.

In this undated file photo provided by Shaffer-Coyle,...

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

<strong>Question: Whatever happened to the &#8220;Dude, You&#8217;re Getting a Dell&#8221; guy?</strong>

<strong>Answer:</strong> A series of low-profile roles, and maybe a comeback.

After graduating from McCallie School, Chattanooga native Ben Curtis became a well-known name &#8212; or, more appropriately, a well-known face and voice. Beginning in 2000, Curtis starred in ads for Dell Computers as Steven, a lovable teenager with a stoner vibe and a passion for Pentium 4 processors. He was 19 at the time.

Then, in 2003, a New York undercover cop busted Curtis on a charge of buying marijuana. Dell was already phasing the Steven character out of its ad campaign, and the arrest didn&#8217;t help. The company dropped him soon after.

Since then, Curtis has acted and produced independent films. In 2011, he starred in projects called &#8220;Spy&#8221; and &#8220;We Are the Hartmans.&#8221; Curtis has also performed in Off Broadway plays.

Curtis recently told Bloomberg News that the money he earned from the Dell ads is all gone. Considering how ubiquitous he was on TV for three years, he said he didn&#8217;t make as much as some might expect. He used the money he did get to pay for his time at New York University&#8217;s Tisch School of Arts.

Earlier this year, Curtis told several media outlets that he would like to reprise his role as Steven. Dell&#8217;s sales have sagged in recent years, and Curtis would like to show Steven as a successful &#8212; and still off-kilter &#8212; businessman.

&#8220;They&#8217;re making a huge mistake and simply need to bring back the Dell Dude!&#8221; Curtis told Bloomberg. &#8220;That&#8217;s it. That&#8217;s all they need to do.&#8221;

For now, though, Curtis owns a Mac.

<em>This update was written by staff writer Tyler Jett. Contact him at tjett@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6476.</em>

<em>To suggest a topic for Whatever Happened To, email news@timesfree press.com.</em>