A sad day for as-seen-on-TV fans as Ron Popeil, infomercial king, passes at 86 in Los Angeles.
Just about everyone who can remember the 1980s and 1990s will remeber informercial star Ron Popeil's bright, charismatic smile. He was a sort of jack of all trades, creator of the Pocket Fisherman and the ever-hilarious (yet never intended to be funny) Hair in a Can.
Popeil passed away yesterday early this morning at Los Angeles' Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after what is being described by his family as a "severe medical emergency." His family was present at the time of his passing.
Popeil is also credited with his famous rotisserie and barbeque infomercial tricks and wonders, and is most famously known for the best-known infomercial tagline of all time — set it and forget it! The Showtime Rotisserie & BBQ product, the very item that tagline was created for, grossed over a billion dollars in United States sales in a swift blow to HSN and QVC competition.
The informerial kind, born in New York in 1935, first entered the business through his family's kitchen products company based in Chicago. That inspired Popeil to push forward and keep perfecting countertop appliances, kitchen gadgets, and tools for home chefs that would change the way Americans ate. His first invention, the Chop-O-Matic, was one of 1959's greatest sales hits with over two million units flying off store shelves.
The Veg-O-Matic soon followed and created the also incredibly famous infomercial line, but wait, there's more! It's a line that revolutionized the entire industry and is still actively used today. If all this 1950s and 1960s talk seems too far off for you to relate to, 1980s and 1990s kids will appreciate this one — Ron Popeil actually invented the Bedazzler, too.
In fact, if you saw it on TV in any part of the last century or early 2000s, it probably came from Ronco, Ron Popeil's global TV marketing agency that was reportedly worth billions.
Ron is survived by his wife of many years, Robin, four daughters, and four grandchildren. Ron, we'll wait— we hope there's more.
Have your own as-seen-on-TV memories of Ron Popeil you'd like to share? We'd love your thoughts and feedback in the comments section below.