To read it in his voice, click here.
William Darrell "Billy" Mays Jr. (July 20, 1958-June 28, 2009) was an American television direct-response advertisement salesperson most notable for promoting Fix-it, OxiClean, Orange Glo, Kaboom, Zorbeez, and other cleaning, home-based, and maintenance products on the Home Shopping Network, and through his company, Mays Promotions, Inc. If the world of infomercials and late night advertising can be said to have stars, this guy was one of the biggest. Large, loud and impossible to ignore, this pitchman was a familiar face and voice to anyone who watches TV in the United States and Canada. Even if you didn't want him to be.
He gave his enthusiastic endorsement to such products as Zorbeez, OxiClean, Kaboom, Orange Glo, Hercules Hooks and a plethora of late night merchandise.
Beginning in April 2009 and alongside his best friend and equally recognizable pitchman Anthony "Sully" Sullivan, he co-hosted a reality show on the Discovery Channel titled Pitchmen, which showed how his company chose the products they pitch and how they created their ads. The final episode of the show —broadcast two weeks after his death—was a tribute episode to Mays.
On June 28, 2009, BILLY MAYS was found dead in his home in Tampa Bay, Florida due to hypertensive heart disease. He was 50 years old. His funeral was on July 3, 2009 and he was buried in his trademark blue shirt and khaki pants, which were also worn by his pallbearers. A coroner's autopsy reports suggest cocaine may have contributed to Mays' death by accelerating the development of heart disease. His family believes that the autopsy mistook his back medication for cocaine. A second medical examination in October confirmed that cocaine was not a factor in his death.
Not to be confused with the baseball player Willie Mays or bandleader-composer-arranger Billy May.
Products BILLY MAYS hawked:
- Awesome Auger
- Big City Slider
- Ding King
- Hercules Hooks
- iCan Health Insurance
- Jupiter Jack
- Liquid Diamond
- Mighty Putty
- Oxi Clean
- Samurai Shark
- Steam Buddy
The secret's in the TV Tropes Wiki Markup technology, which describes examples that Billy Mays provides:
- Adam Westing: He occasionally had some fun with this trope - his Shakespearean skit on The Tonight Show was one of the better examples."It's out, out damned spot! With the power of new Oxi Clean!"
- Alliterative Name / Rhymes on a Dime: Notice a pattern in the product name list up there?
- ...And 99¢: Most of his products tended to be $19.99.
- Berserk Button: As shown on Pitchmen, you should not mention Shamwow or Vince around him...
- "HI, BILLY MAYS HERE!"
- "But Wait, There's More!"
- Flanderization: He got CONSIDERABLY LOUDER over the years. It's weird watching his old, normally-spoken commercials.
- Full-Name Basis: Maybe. He's almost always referred to as Billy Mays. Or BILLY MAYS.
- The "Fun" in "Funeral": His pallbearers wore his iconic OxiClean blue shirt/khaki pants outfit.
- Gag Dub: Up until his death, and even after, he was the constant (affectionate) target of Jabo0ody Dubs.
- LARGE HAM: He was remarkably cool and collected in most of the interviews he gave; his giant hamminess was explained as somewhere being pragmatic about what attitude sells and having fun in his job.
- Hammerspace: If fans came up to him and asked him if he really used the products he endorsed, he'd enthusiastically say yes and start pulling out a seemingly impossibly large collection of samples out of his pockets and give them away.
- Limited Wardrobe: His wardrobe seemed to consist solely of blue shirts and tan pants, indeed to the point that this was parodied in an ad he did for ESPN360.com in which he's on the run and his suitcase is entirely filled with just blue shirts and tan pants. This is taken to an almost illogical extreme, since, as mentioned above, he was buried in that particular outfit. Furthermore, his pallbearers wore the same outfit.
- NO INDOOR VOICE
- Averted by the show Pitchmen - when not on camera, his voice is quite average.
- Refuge in Audacity: Some of the memes and jokes immediately following his death (with surprisingly few proceeding into Vulgar Humor) were enough to make you laugh and hate yourself for it simultaneously. A good example? Images of Vince Offer holding up the Death Note with his usual wild-eyed stare.
- RIDICULOUSLY LOUD COMMERCIAL
- His ESPN 360 and DC Snowboard Boots ads.
- And the video he made of himself ordering McDonald's breakfast.
- SHOUT OUT: South Park season 13, episode "Dead Celebrities". Full stop."With just two easy steps, I can jump over these seats and kick you right in the fucking balls!"
- Take That!: To Vince Offer and the ShamWow in a Zorbeez commercial:(mockingly) "Did ya get that, camera guy?"
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