Ron Popeil, Inventor and Ubiquitous Infomercial Pitchman, Dies at 86
After starting to sell his father’s products, Mr. Popeil started his own business, Ronco, which he sold in 2005 for around $ 56 million. The company’s sales fell 35% the following year, and the company went bankrupt within two years before being relaunched in 2008.
“The history of Popeil-Ronco goes back to the old traditions of pitching when someone stood at a fair or on a promenade and, through nuances of words, voices, gestures, could bring someone to stop and buy something they would never consider buying, ”Tim Samuelson, author of“ But Wait! There’s More! ”a book about the Popeil family, said in 2008.
After the company’s creditors forced it into liquidation in 1984, Mr. Popeil bought back his trademarks and inventory for around $ 2 million. A few years later, he spent $ 33,000 doing an hour-long infomercial for a food dehydrator, and nearly $ 60 million over the years to broadcast it on local stations and cable channels. This generated more than $ 90 million in sales, he said.
His ubiquitous placement on stations across the country has helped make him a household figure. His gadgets were mocked by Dan Aykroyd on “Saturday Night Live” and in a Weird Al Yankovic song called “Mr. Popeil.
“I’ve been through many titles: king of hair, king of pasta, king of dehydration, or to use a more colloquial expression, a pitchman or hawker,” Mr. Popeil said in 1995. “I don’t like it. not these sentences, but I am what I am. Pick a product, any product on your desktop. Introduce the product. Tell all the problems related to the product. Tell how the product solves all these problems. Tell the customer where to buy it and how much it costs. Do this in a minute. Give it a try. Do you know what it looks like? It comes out like this: Brrrrrrrrrrr.
Mr. Popeil is survived by his wife Robin; daughters Kathryn, Lauren Contessa and Valentina; and four grandchildren, according to the Associated Press.
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