Infomercial legend Ron Popeil has died at 86

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Ron Popeil, the man largely responsible for infomercials as we know them, who used them to sell products he invented, such as the Pocket Fisherman, Hair in a Can spray, Mr. Microphone and many more. others, died at the age of 86.

Family sources said TMZ that Popeil had a “serious medical emergency” Tuesday night and died Wednesday morning at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He would have been “surrounded by his family”.

The prolific inventor sold his first gadgets early on. “At sixteen, Ron started selling the same products his father’s factory made in Chicago’s Maxwell Street flea markets,” according to the biography on its official website. “He was putting his wares and his table away in the back of a filthy fish shop. Ron would start his day there at 5am to get settled in and make up to $ 500 a day; a huge hit for a child in the 1950s. “

Popeil later began to visit state fairs. He and his business partner launched their first advertisement, for his company Ronco’s Chop-o-Matic, in the 1950s.

And from there, Popeil and its products took off. Not only did he break sales records, but he also claimed to have created the first television commercials and infomercials. At the very least, he was the most notable television pitchman.

Popeil popularized slogans such as “But wait, there’s more” and “Set it and forget it”. He also influenced culture, creating a model for what the public thought an infomercial should be. It was famously parodied by Saturday Night Live‘s Dan Aykroyd in his 1976 sketch “Bass-o-Matic” – which the actor kissed in 2015 to mark the show’s 40th anniversary – and elsewhere.

In the ’80s and’ 90s – after years of introducing his products to night owls and home buyers – Popeil himself was famous. He was the guest of Late Night with David Letterman in 1982, Late at night with Conan O’Brien in 1994 and 1995, as well as others over the years. He has appeared in various movies and TV shows, and he has voiced a character named after him in an animated TV series. Futurama in 1999.

Popeil sold his company, Ronco, for around $ 56 million in 2005, according to the New York Times. The newspaper reported in October 2008 that the company was “reviving its direct infomercials, even weaving historical images” of Popeil.

According to TMZ, Popeil is survived by his wife, Robin, as well as four children and as many grandchildren.


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