Spirited TV pitchman Billy Mays was found dead at his Tampa home earlier this morning, police said. Mays, 50, lent his trademark booming voice to infomercials for products like OxiClean and Orange Glo. His wife, Deborah Mays, found him at their home Sunday morning, the Associated Press reported. Tampa police said there were no signs of a break in or foul play. An autopsy will be done by Monday afternoon to determine the cause of death. “Although Billy lived a public life, we don’t anticipate making any public statements over the next couple of days,” Deborah Mays said in a statement. “Our family asks that you respect our privacy during these difficult times.” Mays, who got his start peddling products to passersby on the Atlantic City Boardwalk, has plugged Mighty Putty, the Ding King dent repair kit, and, most recently, the website ESPN360.com “With every product you see me on TV with, I’ve turned down 100, 150 more,” Mays told the News earlier this month, while in New York for a look alike contest. “I’ve been on TV for 11 years, and all I have is my good name.” “I compare myself to a big-league slugger, a quarterback, the doctor who delivers the baby,” he said. “I’m not an inventor, but I’ll take your product to the next level.”
Shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem was missing from the radio this morning, following news that two handguns and an honorary sheriff’s badge were taken from his car Wednesday night after a burglary at a St. Petersburg bowling alley. Police recovered the items after witnesses reported a description of the burglars and undercover officers arrested two men. Clem’s 2005 Chevrolet Suburban was among three vehicles reported burglarized at the Sunrise Lanes on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N at 11:07 Wednesday night, according to St. Petersburg Police. The radio personality reported a fanny pack was taken from his vehicle containing credit cards, a bank card, two handguns and an honorary sheriff’s badge from Indiana; Clem has a concealed weapons permit. Clem’s boss at WHPT-FM (The Bone 102.5), the Tampa station which airs his top-rated morning radio show, said the host decided to sleep in today after staying up late Wednesday night handling details related to the burglary. His program airs at 6 a.m. weekdays. “If it would have happened to me, I would have done the same thing,” said Jay O’Connor, Tampa market manager for WHPT owner Cox Radio. “I’d rather he get a good night’s sleep than feel the need to come in and do a bad show.”
Nicholas Reynard McCant, 19, and Mario E. McCant, 20, were arrested and charged with a range of offenses relating to the burglary, including grand theft, resisting arrest and violation of parole, according to police.
In a positive sign for the 2009 touring season, sales for the upcoming Billy Joel/Elton John co-headlining tour are “through the roof,” according to Wilson Howard, president, Live Nation Music Southeast, who calls the tour “a smash.”
The configuration for the upcoming tour, which begins March 2 in Jacksonville, Fla., is 360 degrees, significantly boosting capacity in the arenas. Tickets range from $49.50-$175.
In addition to Jacksonville, the tour will play Tampa (March 5), Charlotte (7), Cincinnati (10), Atlanta (14), Tulsa, Okla. (17), Houston (19), San Antonio (21), Phoenix 26, and Anaheim (28, 30).
Live Nation is promoting most of the shows on the tour, and AEG Live will promote in Anaheim, which has almost sold out the second show.
Before the trek, Joel is set for a six-show run at the Seminole Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, Fla., spread out between Jan. 2 and Feb. 8. John has international shows on tap through late January, to be followed by a two-week engagement with his Red Piano show at Las Vegas’ Caesars Palace.