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Infomercial icon Ron Popeil, the man behind the catchphrase ‘But wait, there’s more!’ has died at the age of 86.
Popeil, who is widely regarded as the father of the television infomercial, died ‘suddenly and peacefully’ at Cedars Sinai Medical Center on Wednesday in Los Angeles, his representatives said.
He was said to have suffered a ‘medical emergency’. No further details about his death have been disclosed.
Both an inventor and marketing expert, Popeil was a trailblazer when it came to direct-to-consumer marketing – his face and name becoming synonymous with the products he was selling for more than three decades with a fortune estimated at $200million.
Some of Popeil catchphrases will live on including: ‘But Wait There’s More!’, ‘Set it and Forget it,’ ‘Less Shipping and Handling’.
Ron Popeil, the father of the infomercial and creator of such items including the Pocket Fisherman, Hair in a Can and Set it and Forget it’ Rotisserie has died at 86
The Showtime ‘Set it and Forget it’ Rotisserie grossed over one billion dollars in domestic sales and shattered sales records on shopping networks like QVC
Under his company RONCO, which he set up in 1964, Popeil sold a wide range of products including: Popeil’s Pocket Fisherman, Mr. Microphone (a karaoke machine), the first music compilation record collections, Hair in a Can, Inside the eggshell egg scrambler, and the Rhinestone Stud Setter which was later called the Bedazzler.
All of the items which were deemed to be innovative have been archived by The Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC.
Popeil started out with just a small table on Maxwell Street in Chicago where he sold kitchen products but he had a knack for the sales pitch and instantly connected with audiences and potential shoppers from all demographics.
His pitches at Woolworth’s flagship store #1 in Chicago became must-see live entertainment with hundreds gathering to watch him at work.
Spray-on hair in a can is a hairstyling product that saw an aerosol spray applied to balding areas of the scalp to create artificial hair covering that area
GLH, is still on sale today and was one of the products pioneered by Ronco in the 1980s
A perfect gift for every fishing enthusiast, the As Seen on TV Ronco Pocket Fisherman includes all fishing accessories, such as a hook, a swivel, a practice casting plug, a weight, and a bobber to ensure a good catch
The Pocket Fisherman was invented in 1963 by Ron Popeil’s father and went on sale in 1972
Popeil graced the TV airwaves in 1959 bringing is captivating pitches with him.
His first infomercial was for the Chop-o-Matic, classic vegetable slicer in 1959 which sold two million units.
It was the start of what was to be hundreds of products all being marketed to a global TV audience, particularly late at night.
His popular infomercials led him to make dozens of cameos on TV shows and films.
As well as connecting with audiences, Popeil was incredibly adept at identifying a need for a product that consumers might not have realized already existed which he would then tweak and and engineer, to make it more customer friendly.
When he wasn’t improving items already on the market, Popeil would be inventing his own including Popeil’s Pasta Maker and Food Dehydrator.
When Popeil would appear on home shopping channels, his products would sell fast
The Showtime ‘Set it and Forget it’ Rotisserie was his most successful product and made more than one billion dollars in sales breaking records on home shopping channels.
Popeil’s focus on kitchen products is said to have come from his own upbringing where he did not grow up in traditional family structure having been sent to boarding school from the age of three.
He saw food as a way of bringing families together and wanted to make products that were both easy to use, enabling families to come together through cooking.
But despite all of his success in business, Popeil’s pride was for his family and close friend which he would call ‘The Rontourage.’
He is survived by his wife of 25 years, Robin, his four daughters and four grandchildren.
Ron Popeil is seen in March 2020 in Los Angeles, California. He is survived by his wife of 25 years, Robin, his four daughters and four grandchildren