Sunday, June 28, 2009

I will miss Billy Mays

Of all the recent celebrity deaths (Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Ed McMahon) the only one that I immediately felt effected by was the sad news that Billy Mays has passed away this morning.
(CNN) -- Infomercial pitchman Billy Mays died at his Tampa, Florida, home Sunday morning, authorities told CNN.

The 50-year-old known for his shouting OxiClean ads was pronounced dead at 7:45 a.m. The Hillborough County medical examiner will perform an autopsy, Tampa police Lt. Brian Dugan said.

Mays was on the US Airways flight from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Tampa on Saturday that had a hard landing at Tampa International Airport when the plane's front tire blew out. There were no reported injuries on Flight 1241, US Airways told CNN.

According to a local Tampa TV station, Mays said: "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."

The bearded Mays was a spokesman for Orange Glo and detergent OxiClean and appeared in commercials for other products.

He is featured on the reality TV show ''Pitchmen'' on the Discovery Channel, which follows pitch people in their jobs.

"It is with incredible sadness that we have to report that Billy Mays died in his sleep last night," said a statement from the Discovery Channel. "Everyone that knows him was aware of his larger-than-life personality, generosity and warmth. Billy was a pioneer in his field and helped many people fulfill their dreams. He will be greatly missed as a loyal and compassionate friend. Our deepest sympathies go out to his family at this time of incredible loss."
I think Billy effected me because he was current, he was on the edge of becoming a pop culture icon, and he was a brilliant business man. I loved his show pitchmen and I loved how quirky Billy Mays was. I also think we are going to miss out on 10-20 more years of seeing Billy on TV shouting about new products.

Billy has sold Billions of dollars worth of products on TV and turned himself into a brand. He was recognizable, his products set a new bar for As Seen on TV products and he was very wealthy to boot. I think the lesson here is to do what you love because Billy sure did, and while he may not have had much time to enjoy his success, the reward for him was the journey to becoming the #1 Pitchman on TV.

I see this a little bit like the deferred life plan of retirement, if you wait until 55 or so to start doing what you really want to be doing, you never know how long or if you will actually get to do that.

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