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
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!”

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

13 Responses

Great command of presence. He talked to his audience not at them. In public speaking terms he commanded his audience and they reacted to him. Not many people in sales understand this notion. It is what separates good sales people from bad sales people. Grabbing the attention and holding it.

californiascreaming on June 28, 2009 at 2:08 pm

Holy Cow! I remeber seeing him on a talk show (Kimmel?) last week!

Norman Blitzer on June 28, 2009 at 2:40 pm

He died a success, unlike someone else who died the other day.

Worry01 on June 28, 2009 at 5:08 pm

Every day on this earth is a gift. Life is all about the journey not the destination. Live life to the fullest! RIP Billy.

bonzerwolf on June 28, 2009 at 5:14 pm

RIP. Your friends at TIVO will certainly miss you.

49smudge on June 28, 2009 at 5:37 pm

Its the small things in life no one expects that does one in. Billy Mays may RIP now but he won’t be missed – the funny thing in this tragedy is he’ll be more famous in the late night TV infomercial heaven than ever!

NormanF on June 28, 2009 at 6:28 pm

Rest In Peace Billy.
I’m sure you’ll be welcomed in heaven.

Jackson Pearson on June 28, 2009 at 7:28 pm

Norman F: Billy Mays was pretty darn famous while alive. He could have taken down the ShamWow guy with one hand tied behind his back.
Billy Mays only pitched products that actually worked, like Oxyclean. RIP.

lexi on June 28, 2009 at 9:57 pm

Debbie, can you come over and demonstrate your TV cleaning products for me?

Anonymous1 on June 28, 2009 at 11:03 pm

How am I supposed to know which crap NOT to buy. I have found the stuff he sells useless. His Oxyclean garbage gave me a horrendous allergic reaction.

ramrod on June 29, 2009 at 12:36 am

Billy Mays was the man. There’s a great youtube clip of him, where he spoofs himself ordering fast food at McDonalds. here’s the link
Unfortuantely we’re left with Vince Offer, the Shamwow guy that was beat up by a Prostitute earlier this year.
I used my zorBEEZ towel all day yesterday when I heard this news.

trewsdetroit on June 29, 2009 at 8:42 am

Made me learn to really appreciate the “mute” button on my remote…

wnaegele on June 29, 2009 at 10:19 am

i will miss u billy mays

ruben on February 1, 2010 at 11:09 am

Leave a Reply for trewsdetroit

Click here to cancel reply.

* denotes required field