Ron Popeil, the tireless inventor and pitchman who became known to TV audiences nationwide through his infomercials for products such as the Chop-o-Matic, GLH (a.k.a. Hair in a Can), and the Showtime Rotisserie, as well as the countless parodies he inspired on shows like Saturday Night Live, has died at 86.
Popeil passed away "suddenly and peacefully" on Wednesday at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, according to a news release.
Popeil pioneered the infomercial game and was known for his fast-talking delivery and catchphrases like "Set it and forget it" and "But wait, there's more!" Under his eponymous company Ronco, he developed and sold a wide range of offbeat products including the Pocket Fisherman, Mr. Microphone, the Inside the Eggshell Egg Scrambler, and the Rhinestone Stud Setter, later called the Bedazzler.
Reed Saxon/AP/Shutterstock Ron Popeil
He became a household name and was spoofed on shows such as I Love Lucy and SNL. On the latter program, Dan Aykroyd famously mimicked Popeil in a series of bits, the most famous of which had him shilling the Super Bass-O-Matic 76.
That same year, 1976, Aykroyd did a Bat-O-Matic sketch, and he revived the bit for SNL's 40th anniversary show in 2015. Fellow cast member Eddie Murphy also did his own Popeil gag in 1982, hawking the Popiel Galactic Prophylactic.
Popeil himself also appeared on TV shows including Futurama, The Martin Short Show, King of the Hill, and The Daily Show With Jon Stewart. Today, some of Popeil's original products can be seen at the Smithsonian Museum.
He is survived by his wife, four daughters, and four grandchildren.