I'm still deeply shaken by the news, as I’m sure are most of you who knew him. Any statement at this moment seems like an understatement. Perhaps this will come close: After today, the industry will never quite be what it once was.
Much has been written and will be written about Billy Mays the pitchman, the businessman, the reality show star. To many, he was just a caricature of the DRTV style of advertising. But I knew Billy Mays the human being -- and what a great human being he was. On this blog I once wrote: “He is a genuinely nice, humble guy who has one of the smallest egos in the industry.” I meant it.
Although most of our interactions were over business, Billy had a way of making them feel personal and comfortable. It was like you were talking to an old buddy you just happened to be hiring for your project. On the phone, he was always sincere, asking with genuine concern and interest about your life and family. In person, he would greet you with warm recognition, that easy smile and a firm handshake. Despite the wealth and fame, he never lost that down-to-earth, regular guy from Pittsburgh part of himself.
There is more I could write, and yet somehow none of it seems adequate. So for now I'll just say: Goodbye, Billy. I'll miss you.
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