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"BILLY MAYS - the only TV spokesman allowed to speak in all caps."—YouTube Commenter
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.
Not to be confused with the baseball player Willie Mays.
On June 28, 2009, BILLY MAYS was found dead in his home in Tampa Bay, Florida due to hypertensive heart disease. He was age 50. 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 feels 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.
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
BILLY MAYS demonstrated examples of the following:
- 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 Oxy Clean!"
- Added Alliterative Appeal/Rhymes on a Dime: Notice a pattern in the product name list up there?
- And 99 Cents: Most of his products tended to be $19.99.
- Author Existence Failure: His death effectively ended production on Pitchmen. Discovery Channel began the second season with Sullivan and Mays's son.
- After his death, it was reported that he was going to appear in a series of ads for Taco Bell which will either be scrapped or feature Anthony Sullivan instead.
- About a year after his death, his commercials (including his final few, which had never aired before) started to appear on TV again, but then they were gone again by the end of 2010.
- They're back again, on and off, mostly for Mighty Putty. Sullivan has also done tribute commercials for some products, starting them off by mentioning his "friend Billy". These include both products that Billy has sold, or some he was going to but never got a change to do.
- Badass Beard: Most definitely.
- Berserk Button: As shown on Pitchmen, you could not mention Shamwow or Vince around him...
- Catch Phrase: "HI, BILLY MAYS HERE!"
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Name's the Same / Legacy Character: His father's name? BILLY MAYS, Sr.(Senior) His son's name? BILLY MAYS III (the Third). On the televised memorial service, BILLY MAYS III mentioned that he might name his son BILLY MAYS IV.
- Refuge in Audacity - Some of the memes and jokes immediately following his death (with surprisingly few proceeding into Refuge in Vulgarity) 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
- Self-Deprecation: His ESPN 360 commercials seem to be a self-parody.
- 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!"
- Youtube Poop: He is a favorite subject, along with Vince Offer.
- Love It or Hate It: After his death, many continue to find BILLY MAYS poops funny, while others changed their minds.
- This was enhanced further by the discovery of an outtake reel in which Billy Mays curses. His sudden "are you shittin' me?" blurt ended up used quite heavily, probably most appropriately for the Big City Toilet.