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Ron Popeil, TV pitchman who hawked Veg-O-Matic, Mr. Microphone and more, dies

Valerie J. Nelson, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

The younger Popeil, who was married four times, admitted to spending too much time on business.

As of 1970, he was worth about $13 million. A recession in the early 1980s affected sales and creditors forced the company to liquidate in 1984.

The 150-acre estate includes a main house, guesthouse, 800 olive trees and equestrian facilities such as pastures and a riding area.

When Ronco’s trademarks and inventory were auctioned off a few years later, Popeil bought them back for about $2 million.

 

He launched his return to television in the 1990s as a born-again practitioner of the 30-minute infomercial, which had mainly been developed during his absence. Popeil sold food hydrators and pasta makers — and claimed to make more money than ever.

When he sold Ronco in 2005, he said he wanted to spend more time with his two young daughters. He also committed himself to developing what he said would be his last kitchen gadget, a deep fryer for turkeys.

Popeil is survived by his fourth wife, Robin, whom he married in 1995, and five daughters.

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