Sunday, June 28, 2009

Billy Mays, star pitchman, dead at 50

Billy Mays, the man with the booming voice famous for fronting products such as Oxiclean and Orange Glo in TV commercials, has died.

Tampa police say Mays' wife Deborah found him unresponsive at his Tampa-area home Sunday morning. Tampa Fire Rescue pronounced him deceased at 7:45 a.m.

The cause of death is unknown. Police say there were no signs of forced entry to the residence and there is no suspected foul play.

Mays was on the US Airways flight from Philadelphia that had a hard landing Saturday at Tampa International Airport after the front tire under the nose of the plane blew out.

After the flight, Tampa TV station quoted Mays as saying, "All of a sudden as we hit, you know, it was just the hardest hit, all the things from the ceiling started dropping. It hit me on the head, but I got a hard head."

Airline spokesman Jim Olson told CNN Sunday there were no reported passenger injuries from flight 1241. The airline vowed to "cooperate fully" with authorities in the investigation.

Billy Mays was about to film a bunch of commercials for Taco Bell -- this according to a radio host who talked to the pitchman a few hours before he died. During the call, Todd said Billy had just signed a deal with Taco Bell for a series of infomercial-style adverts that were going to be filmed in August.

Last Interview

"All of a sudden we hit hmmm it was just the hardest hit. All the top hmmm ceiling things started dropping ... hit me on the head. I have an hard head." - Billy Mays about In what would turn out to be his last interview, Billy Mays recounted his experience aboard US Airways Flight 1241 which landed roughly at Tampa International Airport yesterday.

Check out his Most Famous Advertisement for Mighty Putty

Tampa Cops Discuss the Death of Billy Mays

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pitchmen: Billy Mays

On April 15, 2009, the Discovery Channel began airing Pitchmen, a documentary series that features Mays and Anthony Sullivan in their jobs in direct response marketing. Mays and Sullivan appeared together on the June 23, 2009 episode of The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien.

More recently, the commercials for his products have become a popular internet meme, and have spawned countless video remixes.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Early life

Mays was born on July 20, 1958 and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He later dropped out of West Virginia University and worked for his father's hazardous waste company before moving to Atlantic City, New Jersey. He was taught how to sell by the older salesmen in Atlantic City, saying "I was taught to pitch by a lot of old pitchmen. That's the kind of style I have." In Atlantic City boardwalk he sold the Washmatik portable washing device to passersby, and other "As Seen on TV" products.

Mays later traveled to home shows, auto shows, and state fairs across the United States for a period of twelve years, selling various maintenance products and tools, including cleaning products and food choppers.

Born William Darrell Mays, Jr.
July 20, 1958(1958-07-20)
McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died June 28, 2009 (aged 50)
Odessa, Florida, U.S.
Other names Billy Mays
Occupation Television direct-response advertisement salesman
Years active 1993–2009
Home town McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania
Spouse(s) Deborah Mays