Ruth Marx, the singer of many classic TV commercial jingles and the mother of pop-rock singer Richard Marx, died Aug. 24 of lung cancer at her son's California home. She was 85.

The younger Marx confirmed his mother's death to the Chicago Sun-Times on Monday and in a Facebook post last week, writing, "Rest now, sweet beautiful Mama. What we had between us was the most unique and extraordinary bond I've ever known. I can't begin to thank you enough for everything you did for me, everything you were to me and will always be. My heart is in a million pieces and I will love you with every breath of my life remaining."

Ruth Marx performed several well-known jingles written by her husband, Dick Marx (who died in 1997), perhaps most famously the jingle for Chicken of the Sea tuna: "Ask any mermaid you happen to see, what's the best tuna? Chicken of the Sea!"

Born Ruth Guildoo in Ohio, Marx grew up in a family of seven children in East Liverpool, where her mother worked in a pottery factory and her father as a steelworker. She performed in school plays and talent shows during high school before starting to tour with big bands.

She eventually made her way to Chicago, where she met the vocal coach Dick Marx, who would teach her "more about phrasing and singing with emotion than anyone," she later recalled — and whom she would marry in 1961. In the following years, he penned many familiar ad jingles with a commercial music company he formed, including "Double your pleasure, double your fun" for Doublemint; "You've Come a Long, Way, Baby" for Virginia Slim cigarettes; and "Two scoops of raisins in a package of Kellogg's Raisin Bran." Ruth Marx sang many of his jingles, as well as one for Quasar electronics in the 1970s.

Ruth Marx
Ruth Marx
| Credit: Facebook

Richard, the couple's only son, was born in Chicago in 1963. After his music career took off, Ruth Marx performed backup vocals on some of his songs, including "Streets of Pain," from 1991's Rush Street album.

"She was always to fun to be around," Richard Marx told the Sun-Times. And "she was a really, really wonderful singer."

He added, "I thanked her many times for being this incredible mother. I said, 'You were my best friend but also my confidante.' Every day, she said, 'Who's had a better life than me?'"

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