TV pitchman Billy Mays was laid to rest today in his hardscrabble hometown of McKees Rocks, Pa., the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. Friends described his determined rise from the mill town to the malls of New Jersey to the hallowed heights of the Home Shopping Network. “If there was a Jimi Hendrix of the guitar, there was a Billy Mays of the pitchmen,” a colleague said.
Mays’ iconoclastic style and booming voice were fondly remembered. A rival recalled a what-not-to-do training video. “They showed Billy Mays,” he said. “They actually used that at QVC.” All agreed he was a consummate professional who lived for his job. “He was there—he was a pitchman at heart,” said a worker on Mays’ Discovery Channel show. “He was on, never off.”