Joe Isuzu lives! David Leisure — who gained fame playing the smarmy car salesman in late '80s TV ads — just resumed hawking Isuzu sport utility vehicles in February. During his first go around, the actor finessed his way into a cushy seven-season stint as Richard Mulligan's Joe Isuzu-esque neighbor on The Golden Girls spin-off, Empty Nest. Now, he's actually managed to milk himself a comeback. "Andy Warhol was wrong," Leisure gleefully tells TV Guide Online. "You get more than 15 minutes of fame. I'm getting an extra 15, and I feel like the luckiest guy in Hollywood."

It's been 11 years since coach potatoes last saw Leisure doing his comic snake-oil routine in a series of award-winning ads, which featured the words "He's lying" flashing below him on-screen. "I was a little scared at the thought of bringing him back," Leisure admits. "I thought, 'Everybody who knew him is either dead or doesn't care anymore.' But I guess I was wrong. I'm getting a great response from people who either remember Joe or are getting acquainted with him for the first time."

For Leisure, getting reacquainted with Joe required spending four grueling hours in a make-up chair. The idea was to make him appear out of shape and then buff him up to get back into action. "I had a tummy pad to make me fat," he recalls, "but the tough part was all the prosthetics it took to give me a double chin. The best part was taking it off and thinking, 'Gee, I look really good now!'"

Though he portrays a stereotypical sleaze who'll say anything to cajole you into buying a car, Leisure's quick to defend the reps of real car salesmen. "I've met hundreds of them and most of them are really terrific people," he offers diplomatically. "Actually, when I first did Joe, some dealers took umbrage at the fact that we made him a liar. But that's what gave him an identity."

In upcoming commercials for the Isuzu Axiom — a new SUV seen in the Antonio Banderas film, Spy Kids — Joe gets the chance for a little action. "I'll be riding a horse, fat suit and all," Leisure deadpans. "It's a real glamour shot, galloping down the beach through the waves at sunset. I'm not lying about that."