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Remembering Billy Mays

The boisterous infomercial king sold his way into our homes and hearts

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Known for his blue button-down shirts, industrial-strength beard, and uncanny ability to sell things named What Odor? and Mighty Mendit, TV pitchman extraordinaire Billy Mays died on June 28 at the age of 50 from an apparent heart attack at his home in Tampa. The Pennsylvania native — who began his career peddling knives and cleaning devices on the Atlantic City boardwalk — gained fame by hawking household products like OxiClean and Orange Glo with his forceful yet friendly voice on HSN and elsewhere on the dial. This spring, he starred in a reality show, alongside fellow infomercial guru Anthony ”Sully” Sullivan, in Discovery Channel’s Pitchmen. Mays wasn’t afraid to play with his always-be-closing image, as evidenced by his humorous ESPN360.com spots. Bottom line: When it came to the man who liked to say ”Life’s a pitch, then you buy,” we were sold.