Star of so many commercials from our childhoods, infomercial innovator Ron Popiel suddenly, and peacefully, passed away at age 86.
Rest in peace, Ron.
In 1959 he appeared in his first TV commercial, hawking the Ronco Chop-o-Matic food dicer. Debuting the earnestly dramatic style that became his trademark, Popeil said, "I'm going to show you the greatest kitchen appliance ever made."
Popeil followed with a flurry of other made-for-TV inventions, dizzying in both their number and variety. They included the Pocket Fisherman, Mr. Microphone and the Electric Food Dehydrator. Popeil said he was not just a salesman, but also an inventor who designed many of the products himself.
Although his company Ronco was already a household name in the 1970s, Popeil's fame exploded in the 80s when looser federal regulations on TV ads allowed him to go from brief commercials to 30-minute self-contained "infomercials," which soon dominated late night and weekend schedules.