Pretty Woman star Julia Roberts is still a draw. She continues to be the headlining name in film and, lately, prestige TV. Part of her appeal — a small part, given her Academy Award-winning acting skills — is her big, bright smile. It’s a smile that cost Julia Roberts’ dentist a lot of money.
Julia Roberts continues to be an acting powerhouse
Roberts became an acting heavy-hitter relatively quickly. Her 1987 debut in the TV series Crime Story drew instant interest from Hollywood casting directors. A small but impactful 1988 release, Mystic Pizza, proved Roberts was ready for more demanding film roles, Insider reports.
1988’s Steel Magnolias was her mainstream breakout. By the time she starred in Pretty Woman in 1990, she was arguably one of the most famous faces in the world. When a major drama needed a female lead, Roberts became one of the top names on any director’s list.
She made history in more ways than one with the 2000 nonfiction legal thriller Erin Brockovich. When she was offered the part, she insisted on $20 million to get on board. She was the first female actor to make that much from a single role. The investment paid off — the film was a hit, and it earned Roberts an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role.
Julia Roberts’ dentist put his money where his mouth was
For the Erin Brockovich star, a win at the Oscars was massive. She had everything to gain from that moment on; she had attained a level of prestige that would put a high floor on her earnings. But for Julia Roberts’ dentist, her win was expensive.
According to the Associated Press, Dr. Ted Aspes had to order 10,000 tubes of Crest toothpaste. It came from a longstanding promise the dentist made 26 years earlier. He had said that if any of his patients won a world-class award — such as a Rhodes Scholarship or Academy Award — he’d give a tube of toothpaste to every kid in town.
Dr. Aspes made good on his word. After seeing Erin Brockovich, he was convinced his former patient would win the most prestigious award in her field. In fact, he put in his biggest order for toothpaste a full week before the Academy Awards aired.
“I usually order a few hundred,” Aspes explained. “My distributor called and said, ‘Hey, doc, are you sure there isn’t a comma in the wrong place?’”
The actor’s iconic smile might explain why her dentist had to fulfill his promise
Parents began lining up for their free toothpaste the morning after the actor’s big win. Julia Roberts’ dentist didn’t have trouble giving away much of his cache of Crest. Word of his longtime promise to his patients had clearly gotten around. For a little while, at least, the children of Smyrna, Georgia, would have no excuse not to take care of their teeth.
But part of what might have made Dr. Aspes’ promotion stick out is the brilliance of Roberts’ iconic grin. Her gleaming, toothy smile is a significant part of her allure. And she knows it — the actor insured her most prominent feature for a cool $30 million.
Who wouldn’t want a free tube of toothpaste? Everybody loves a deal, no matter how small. But for Dr. Aspes, his most famous client happened to be the perfect proof-of-concept of his work. If you want to be successful, beautiful, and talented as Roberts, it helps to have a perfect smile. And Dr. Aspes helped maintain the most famous smile there is.