July 3, 2009

Billy Mays remembered in hometown

Co-workers Friday praised infomercial pitchman Billy Mays as he was buried in his hometown of McKees Rocks, Pa.

Jerry Spanola, who worked as a pitchman with Mays, said the infomercial star's death Sunday at the age of 50 sent a shockwave through the industry, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Friday.

He totally shut down the business when it happened, Spanola said. Pitchmen are always talking. The morning Billy died, he rendered that business speechless.

Pitchman Jeremy Parker, who worked with Mays five years earlier, used Friday's burial to reiterate Mays' impact on the field of infomercials.

If there was a Jimi Hendrix of the guitar, there was a Billy Mays of the pitchmen, Parker said at St. John of God Catholic Church in McKees Rocks.

He made everyone feel important, former Home Shopping Network host John Cremeans said.

The bearded pitchman earned a name in the industry thanks to his energetic efforts selling various products on the Home Shopping Network and for Mays Promotions Inc.