Sunday, June 28, 2009

Billy Mays -- selling halos now

It's been a rough week for celebrity deaths: first Ed McMahon, then Farah Fawcett and Michael Jackson.

Now comes the most shocking of them all: William D. Mays, Jr., better known as Billy Mays the infomercial king, has gone to that great toll-free number in the sky, dead at the age of 50.

If you watch any cable or satellite TV you've seen him hawking all manner of amazing products, including OxiClean, Orange Glo and god knows how many other household goods. Best known for his in-your-face braying delivery ("Billy Mays here!") and take-no-prisoners style, Mays has in recent years become America's most successful product hawker. In April 2009 he was featured in Discovery Channels documentary Pitchmen.

Despite the slight air of sleeziness that exudes from "as seen on television" commercials, the products we've bought (they're in stores, too) have (mostly) lived up to the pitch. If Billy promoted it, you knew it would be worth the price ("act now and we'll double the offer!").

Billy, we loved your over-the-top commercials and will miss you!

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