British billionaire Sir Richard Branson’s approach to life is Easy: He sees everything as an opportunity. He is generally positive about life and knows that we can always find ways to solve problems and make things work. This led him to start businesses, some of which failed. Not a single failure has kept him from pushing his marks whenever he can. Sometimes the best way to do it is to crush a competitor’s product live in Times Square, but other times his strategy is as simple as making an appearance in a movie or TV show. Here are some of Branson’s past cameos:
Richard Branson made an appearance in the fourth season of Friends. In the scene, Branson poses as a street vendor while Joey (Matt LeBlanc) and Chandler (Matthew Perry) shop for memorabilia. Joey tries on a Britain themed hat he loves, but Chandler thinks it’s stupid. “Don’t you think you’ve embarrassed me enough for a day?” He asks Joey. Branson stayed out of most of the conversation until he let Joey know that Chandler was just jealous and the hat was suitable for the weather. Joey chooses the hat over Chandler, which Branson says is a good choice.
Anytime Branson makes an appearance on a show, there’s a good chance one of his companies will be promoted as well. In the case of Friends, Virgin Atlantic transported the five of them to London, and the Baywatch, Virgin Cola, a soft drink that has since been banned from the market, was on sale. In the scene, Richard is in California trying to break a record and receives a call from singer Gladys Knight, much to the surprise of Hobie Buchanon (Jeremy Jackson) and his father, who are watching.
3. “Feathered birds”
British sitcom Birds of a feather aired from 1989 to 1998. In the episode where Branson makes an appearance, Dorien (Lesley Diana Joseph) joins the mile-high club on Virgin Atlantic, ironically. She goes to the upper class section to “find a handsome rich tycoon”. The tycoon that Dorien finds by chance is Richard Branson, with whom she is “keen to get to know”. Branson reads a newspaper but lowers it to shake Dorien’s hand.
4. “Around the world in 80 days”
Around the world in 80 days was released in 2004, based on a book of the same name. The film stars Jackie Chan, Steve Coogan and CÃ©cile de France. If there’s one thing Branson is known for, it’s his love for adrenaline-pumping activities. That’s exactly what the movie did, as Branson made an appearance there as a hot air balloon operator. The film did not do very well at the box office, as it made losses. He also earned two Razzie Award nominations and two Stinker Award nominations.
5. ‘Casino Royale’
Based on the novel by Ian Fleming, Casino Royale was released in 2006 and marked the third adaptation of Ian Fleming’s work. The film, which is set at the start of James Bond’s career as Agent 007, was the highest-grossing James Bond film of its time when it was released. In it, Richard Branson makes an appearance as a Random Passenger. Branson appears to have no baggage as he goes through security. Dressed in a navy blue shirt and jeans, it’s possible for a viewer who isn’t so keen to miss the Branson screening.
6. “Only fools and horses”
Only fools and horses was a British sitcom that aired on BBC One from 1981 to 2003. Starring David Jason, the show starred Richard Branson as an airline owner. Del (David Jason), a trader who could sell ice cream to an Eskimo if the need arises, is seen in the scene determined to board a plane bound for Miami. In his rush, he is waved by the person in front of him in line and refers to him thinking he owns the plane. When the person turns around, Richard Branson’s face is revealed, much to Del’s surprise.
7. “Dreams of London”
Richard Branson’s appearances aren’t limited to British and American TV shows alone. In 2009, at the height of Virgin Mobile’s penetration in India, Branson made an appearance in London dreams, a Bollywood film. The musical drama stars Salman Khan and Ajay Devgn as the stars. Commercially, the film was not as successful, nor was it well received. Most of the negative reviews had nothing to do with the cast but were more aimed at criticizing the plot of the film.
8. “The Return of Superman”
In 2006, Branson played a role in the film directed by Bryan Singer Superman Returns. The film, the sixth in the Superman series and the final, starred Brandon Routh, Kate Bosworth, James Marsden and Kevin Spacey. It starred Richard Branson as the shuttle engineer. However, the billionaire wasn’t the only one making an appearance, his son Sam did as well. This time, Branson’s Virgin Galactic shuttle was his company that managed to take center stage. After its release, the film received positive and negative reviews in equal measure.
9. “The soup”
Hosted by Joel McHale, Soup aired on E! from 2004 to 2015. The show focused primarily on popular culture, and McHale often reviewed TV highlights weekly. In one episode of the series, Branson made an appearance as an intern. In his role, Branson used to have water battles with Stephen Colbert, something he had been warned by McHale not to do. Not the type to listen to, the habit finally got Branson fired.
10. “Derek and Clive take the horn”
Derek and Clive get the horn was a 1979 documentary film that followed comedy duo Peter Cook and Dudley Moore as they recorded their comedy album, Derek and Clive Ad Nauseam. In it, Branson’s appearances were short and not particularly script-bound. However, this is not the last of her appearance on an unscripted show. In 2011, he and Kate Winslet rehashed a popular scene from the Titanic for CNN. Branson, in addition to making guest appearances, is also known to have starred in his own reality show.