Yesterday, the fine folks at Maker’s Mark unveiled the latest in their popular series of commemorative bottles featuring legends from (or connected to) the state of Kentucky and the surrounding region. Proving that even a company that makes the most delicious bourbon on planet earth isn’t infallible, the Loretto-based distillery announced University of Louisville Athletic Director Tom Jurich’s mug would be featured on a custom white bottle with black wax. With the announcement, Maker’s proved that the standard for earning a portrait on one of their bottles has dropped considerably since icons such as The Unforgettables, Oscar Robertson, and Secretariat graced the special edition bottles.
Nothing against Jurich — I’m sure he’s a swell guy and is super good at his job — but he’s an AD, for goodness sake. I refuse to believe we are living in an era in which an administrator at a public university is worthy of celebrating with a custom-made bourbon bottle, no matter how many big-name coaches he hires or how much dough he rakes in for his employers.
Armed with the knowledge that the bar for having one’s face permanently emblazoned on a Marker’s Mark bottle is now set extraordinarily low, here are four well-known Kentuckians who should be next in line for a special edition bottle of their own:
Kentucky Connection: Born in Lakeville, KY in 1942
Claim to Fame: Publisher of Hustler magazine, famously known as the raunchier cousin of skin-mags like Playboy and Penthouse
Sure, Larry is, among other things, a pornographer. But it’s 2014 and publishing a porn magazine is basically as mainstream a profession as owning a popular chain of pizza joints. Larry served his country in both the Army and Navy, and he rose from poverty to build an empire in the adult entertainment industry, one gentleman’s club and smutty photo shoot at a time. As recently as 2003, Larry claimed the top spot in Arena magazine’s list of the 50 Most Powerful People in Porn. He’s shown true Kentucky grit — he survived an attack on his life from a sniper that left him partially paralyzed — and has been known to get around in a gold-plated wheelchair, which means his swagger levels are off the charts. And if none of that impresses you, the fact that Woody Harrelson portrayed Larry in the 1996 movie The People vs. Larry Flynt should be reason enough to paint his mug on a bourbon bottle.
Miss Elizabeth, aka Elizabeth Ann Hulette
Kentucky Connection: Born in Frankfort, KY, in 1960; graduated from the University of Kentucky (GO CATS!)
Claim to Fame: Oh, you know, she was only the most famous professional wrestling valet/manager OF ALL TIME, serving as the beauty to Macho Man Randy Savage’s beast for the better part of two decades during the sport’s hey day.
If you were a wrestling fan in the 1980s and 90s, then you know Miss Elizabeth was wrestling royalty. No one played the role of concerned arm-candy/damsel in distress better than her. She was on the periphery of some of the greatest matches and feuds in pro wrestling history, and she sold the drama better than most of the muscle-bound knuckleheads working inside the squared circle. But Miss Elizabeth didn’t just play Macho Man’s companion in front of the cameras; she was married to the Slim-Jim-loving Savage for almost 10 years. Sadly, her life ended way too soon when, in 2003, she passed away after reportedly downing a lethal mix of too many painkillers and too much vodka. Miss Elizabeth is one of those beautiful flames that burned too bright, too fast, and I can’t think of a person — Kentuckian or otherwise — who is more deserving of having her face plastered on a bottle of Maker’s.
Kentucky Connection: A resident of Lawrenceburg in November 2010
Claim to Fame: Harvey was forced to eat his own beard.
Here’s the harsh truth — people who live outside of Kentucky have certain misconceptions about what goes on in Bluegrass country. For the majority of the country, Harvey being forced to eat his beard after getting into a fight with two good ol’ boys over a lawnmower sale gone bad is pretty much the most Kentucky story of all time. Harvey’s story went viral in less time than it takes to whip up a chin-whisker sandwich, and, like it or not, he became the face of Kentucky for a few days during the winter of 2010. If nothing else, forever being known as The Guy Who Ate His Own Beard should qualify Harvey to be immortalized on a bottle of the good stuff.
Kentucky Connection: Born in Louisville in 1973
Claim to Fame: Impregnated Anna Nicole Smith
Has Tom Jurich (or anyone else who has ever graced the front of a bottle of Maker’s Mark, for that matter) ever romanced someone as smokin’ hot as Anna Nicole Smith in her prime? Doubt it. That fact alone makes the man a worthy candidate for bottle-dom in my opinion. Not to mention the fact that the poor guy had to endure one of the most high-profile custody battles of the last decade, battling the likes of Howard K. Stern and Zsa Zsa Gabor’s ex-husband for the parental rights of his child. Not only should Larry be featured on the next Maker’s Mark bottle, but the company should deliver a few barrels of the sweet brown nectar to his front porch, free of charge.
Famous/Infamous Kentuckians Who Just Missed the Cut: Lance Burton (magician), Nick Lachey (TV host/former boy band member), Rebecca Gayheart (“The Noxzema Girl”).