Pitch Man Billy Mays Dead at 50

by Fred Weiss - Date: 2009-07-26 - Word Count: 511 Share This!

William D. Mays, Jr, better known as Billy Mays became the king of pitch men, possibly the greatest pitch man ever and did it all in during a life that lasted just 50 years. Love him or hate him, just about everyone with a television in the US and Canada knows of Bill Mays. The King of Pitch apparently died in his sleep this morning, when he was found in bed, unresponsive by his wife, in their Tampa Florida home.

Billy was born on July 20th 1958 in McKees Rock, PA. and he was found dead on the morning of June 28th at his home in Tampa, FL., apparently passing in his sleep on the morning of June 28th. It was unclear if Mr May's death was related to the "Hard Landing" of a US Air flight he was aboard on Saturday June 27. Mr. Mays had told a local reporter that he had been hit in the head by a falling suitcase during that landing. It is not yet known if the blow to his had was related to his death.

Billy was at heart a Pitchman, having worked his way from for pitching on the Atlantic City Boardwalk to pitching a new product, Orange Glow, on the home shopping network in 1994. Mays was most often associated with products marketed by Telebrands, run by A.J. Khubani, the uber successful "As Seen on TV" marketer. Khubani reported being shocked by the death of Mays, calling him "One of a Kind".

From there his TV presence grew as did his success, as a growing number of fans (yes he has fans) found his style both amusing and effective. His career stepped up from pitchman to front man with his lead in the reality show "Pitch Men".

Billy's death was one of several celebrity deaths since June 23rd that also claimed Farah Fawcet, Ed McMahon and Michael Jackson. Each of these people was a superstar of their era or genre of entertainment. While Billy was a pitch man first and a celebrity/entertainer only recently, the other 3 recently passed stars all pitched products over the years. For Farah it was Wella hair products, Michael Jackson promoted Pepsi and for Ed McMahon, who like Billy was a great pitchman, it was all sorts of products.

A list of products that were promoted by Billy Mays includes
- Oxi Clean a stain removing product, laundry additive which today is owned by Church & Dwight, makers of Arm & Hammer products.
- Orange Glo, an orange oil spray cleaner marketed as a wood cleaner and restorative oil.
- Mighty Putty, an epoxy that is activated when mixed by squeezing in the hand and can be used as both a filler and a fastener that is less messy than glue.
- Awesome Auger, a long drill bit, with free rechargeable drill, used for tilling soil and planting flower bulbs.
- The Zorbeez, a synthetic chamois rag that's designed for water absorption. A direct competitor of the "ShamWow".
- Mighty Mend It, a super glue that is pitched by Billy with and American flag in a wind tunnel.
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