June 28, 2009, - 12:57 pm
OxiGone–Death of a Salesman: Billy Mays, Phenomenal Pitchman, RIP; He Made Americans’ Lives Easier, Better
By Debbie Schlussel
**** SCROLL DOWN FOR UPDATE ****
Just goes to show you how fleeting and short life can be.
Billy Mays, the phenomenal, talented American pitchman and entrepreneur, is dead at age 50.
It appears that he might have died from the same kind of concussion that killed actress Natasha Richardson after a fall while learning to ski on a bunny hill, earlier this year.
Mays was found unresponsive by his wife inside his Tampa, Fla., home at 7:45 a.m. on Sunday, according to the Tampa Police Department. . . .
Mays, 50, was on board a US Airways flight that blew out its front tires as it landed at a Tampa airport on Saturday, MyFOXTampa.com reported.
US Airways spokesman Jim Olson said that none of the 138 passengers and five crew members were injured in the incident, but several passengers reported having bumps and bruises, according to the station.
To my mind, Mays is a great American because he was involved in promoting and giving us products that made our lives better, easier.
I use several OxiClean products. And I love them. The Oxiclean powder and OxiClean Maxforce stain remover get out stains that are even a year old, like no product I’ve ever used. I probably would never have even tried them, but for his relentless, convincing pitches and demonstrations.
And he was a stark demonstration of the great American dream: that with hard work (and some talent), you can go from rags to riches in America. In his case, maybe not rags, but you get the point.
Sadly, Mays also now personifies the trite adages we always hear. You have to enjoy life while you can. You never know when it will end. Mays was at the top of his game and had, only in the last few years, amassed tons of wealth as a successful pitchman and entrepreneur. But he won’t be able to enjoy it.
You can’t take it with you.
Billy Mays, Great American Businessman, Consummate American Salesman, Rest in Peace.
**** UPDATE: More on the late Billy Mays:
Born William Mays in McKees Rocks, Pa., on July 20, 1958, Mays developed his style demonstrating knives, mops and other “As Seen on TV” gadgets on Atlantic City’s boardwalk. For years he worked as a hired gun on the state fair and home show circuits, attracting crowds with his booming voice and genial manner.
AJ Khubani, founder and CEO of “As Seen on TV,” said he first met Mays in the early 1990s when Mays was still pitching one of his early products, the Shammy absorbent cloth, at a trade fair. He said he most recently worked with Mays on the reality TV show “Pitchmen” on the Discovery Channel, which follows Mays and Anthony Sullivan in their marketing jobs.
“His innovative role and impact on the growth and wide acceptance of direct response television cannot be overestimated or easily replaced; he was truly one of a kind,” Khubani said of Mays in a statement.
After meeting Orange Glo International founder Max Appel at a home show in Pittsburgh in the mid-1990s, Mays was recruited to demonstrate the environmentally friendly line of cleaning products on the St. Petersburg-based Home Shopping Network.
Commercials and informercials followed, anchored by the high-energy Mays showing how it’s done while tossing out kitschy phrases like, “Long live your laundry!”