Ron Popeil Dies At Age 86: Fans Pay Tribute to Infomercial King
Inventor and infomercial icon Ron Popeil, the man behind products such as the Showtime Rotisserie & BBQ and the Pocket Fisherman, died on Wednesday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was 86.
Born in New York City on May 3, 1935, Popeil started out producing and distributing kitchen appliances alongside his father at a manufacturing facility in Chicago. He rose to fame in the 1950s after starring in a series of infomercials for the Showtime Rotisserie, coining the phrases “Set it, and forget it!” and “But wait, there’s more!”
In 1964, Popeil formed his own company, Ronco, which invented products such as the Veg-O-Matic, Inside-The-Shell Egg Scrambler, Hair in a Can, the Smokeless Ashtray, and the Ronco Rhinestone Stud Setter. He also created Mr. Microphone, an item that has been parodied several times over the years, most famously in The Simpsons episode “Radio Bart.”
Popeil’s infomercial success and memorable personality turned him into a pop-culture mainstay. He made cameo appearances in numerous television shows such as The X-Files, Futurama, King of the Hill, Sex and the City, The Daily Show, and The West Wing. He has also been spoofed on shows like I Love Lucy and Saturday Night Live, the latter of which saw Dan Aykroyd playing the fast-talking salesman.
In 2011, readers of online health magazine Self voted Popeil as one of the 25 people who have changed the way we eat, drink and think about food.
Fans of Popeil took to social media on Wednesday to share their condolences.
wow, RIP Ron Popeil. my dad held this man in such high regard, a true legend of the craft. pic.twitter.com/HBNH3nCWqM
— Billy Mays III (@infinitethird) July 28, 2021
Pouring one out for my man Ron Popeil. RIP. pic.twitter.com/D2ZmQX6YFm
— Scott Bromley (@Scott_Bromley) July 28, 2021
RIP Ron Popeil.
You will be missed. pic.twitter.com/qGVHC5jFfs
— JohnGalt 🇺🇸🇮🇱 (@JohnJGaltrules) July 29, 2021
RIP Ron Popeil. I hope they saved his head. pic.twitter.com/MzmzLEAjKT
— That Guy (@ThatGuy3002) July 28, 2021
RIP to Ron Popeil, who died at 86.
Spent unforgettable time with him shooting my infomercial documentary with him in 2009.
What a mind.
Chop-O-Matic, the Veg-O-Matic, the Pocket Fisherman, GLH Formula #9 and the best — the Showtime Rotisserie (“Set It, And Forget It!”) pic.twitter.com/xYY39c44OU
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) July 29, 2021
Goodbye, Ron Popeil. You were one of the greatest salesmen ever, and yes: I owned a Mister Microphone. Rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/wPqPX2zlHp
— Hillary Warned Us (@HillaryWarnedUs) July 29, 2021
Rest In Peace, Ron Popeil. In your honor, today I will set it. And forget it. pic.twitter.com/4TvL00uv5O
— Rich (Dad Bod) (@ricosuave60) July 29, 2021
He was our next door neighbor for my entire childhood in Beverly Hills. A character. RIP. 🙁
Ron Popeil, Infomercial King Dead at 86 https://t.co/inTe7W8set
— Spiro Agnew’s Ghost (@SpiroAgnewGhost) July 29, 2021
Popeil is survived by his wife, Robin, his four daughters and four grandchildren.