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Australia's Toothless, Tactless Jacko, a Jock Who's Energized to Plug Batteries—and Himself

updated 12/07/1987 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/07/1987 01:00AM

Did you have any heroes when you were growing up?

Yes, uh-huh, I looked at him in the mirror every morning!

Okay, so under his false teeth, bleached hair and pecs-by-Nautilus, the man doesn't have a modest bone in his body. But fans of Mark Alexander Jackson, the 28-year-old Australian multimedia superstar who calls himself Jacko, wouldn't have him any other way. A kamikaze-style Aussie football player, Jacko has made three rock videos, written a best-selling autobiography and worked as a TV reporter, never missing a single opportunity for self-promotion. And in spite of it all he isn't completely obnoxious. At 6'2" and 245 lbs. Jacko comes off like a cross between two Hogans, the Aussie actor Paul and the American wrestler Hulk—completely out of his gourd, but essentially likable.

Likable enough for Eveready, which since September has been using Jacko as its U.S. spokesmaniac for the Energizer battery. His first crop of commercials, in which he did battle with Stonehenge-size Energizers, were the most romping, stomping spots on TV. In the new batch Jacko is scrambling down chimneys, making sure (damn sure) that Santa is leaving the right brand of batteries.

A Melbourne native, Jacko played Australian-rules football from 1978 until his retirement this season. He was a mainstay of the sport, known for his cocky playing style and frequent arguments with referees. On the gentler side he had the same girlfriend for nine years but now prefers playing the bi-continental field. "We're not Rod Stewart yet," Jacko says, "but we're getting there."

America will be seeing more of him. He would like to conquer these shores with his new film, called Jacko—the Mad Movie, and a song (obviously satirical) titled "I Hate Being Famous." And of course there will be more commercials. "I think I can really project through the TV," says Jacko. Rare understatement for a man with enough energy to project through a brick wall.

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