Probably one of the best pitchmen in the business has died at age 50. The big guy in the blue shirt, with his dyed black hair and beard, and high-pitched voice would enter my living room on a regular basis, "Hi, Billy Mays here for Oxi-Clean!" Or any one of a number of products.
Billy's career in sales was made by being identifiable as your next door neighbor. Over the years he aged like the rest of us. His agent or his vanity could dye his hair, but nothing could hide the belly that protruded over his belt.
Whereas Ron Popeel always was an instant channel switcher for me, Billy Mays fascinated me. Whenever he was on selling something, my attention would be as riveted as a four-year-old watching SpongeBob Squarepants. When it was announced that he would co-hosting a reality-show called "Pitchmen", I was in seventh-heaven.
By the way, if you're trying to get stubborn wine stains out of altar linen, "Hi, Billy Mays here for Oxi-Clean." Just soak your linens in an Oxi-Clean solution for one-half hour and then wash them as normal. Your linens will look as fresh as they did when they came from Almy! Thanks Billy! I owe you one.
I don't know what Billy's faith was, but I'll bet that if he's in heaven, he's pitching angel-wing cleaner even as we speak.
William D. "Billy" Mays, Jr.
Here's a neat segment of Billy ordering breakfast at McDonald's: