Scherer founded his computer education firm 20 years ago and is one of the most mild-mannered pitchmen around. He reluctantly became an infomercial star when his products weren't selling well at retail stores and he couldn't afford to hire actors for TV ads. His soft-spoken pitch worked -- the year after his first ads appeared in 1990, sales jumped from $5 million to $18 million. Scherer got a recent burst of fame from a YouTube video that had him helping Presidential candidate John McCain learn how to use a computer. Next: Infomerical Star No. 12
Once the heavyweight boxing champion of the world, Foreman is now the champion of infomercial endorsements. After hanging up his gloves, he became a spokesperson in 1994 for an indoor grill by Salton. The company had promoted the griller at industry trade shows with little interest, but when Foreman signed on for infomercials, sales skyrocketed -- $375 million worldwide in 2002. Salton signed Foreman to a five-year deal worth $137.5 million, one of the biggest deals for an athlete. Foreman has gone on to endorse his own products. Next: Infomerical Star No. 3
Pitches for: Alcor Life Extension In the 70s and 80s, Pizer and his Great Dane, Woofy, hawked car-seat covers in ads on Phoenix TV stations. Woofy is long gone, but Pizer is now dead serious about pitching cryogenics, the process of freezing humans so they can later be resuscitated and cured by medical advances in the future. He became vice-president at Alcor Life Extension, an infamous cryogenics company in Scottsdale, and recently built a resort in Mayer, Arizona, the first step toward the creation of a permanent cryogenics community to be called Ventureville. ' Read Full Article More: As Seen on TV Reviews
Offer is one of the newest TV pitchmen, but he has a notorious history behind him. He started his career by hawking kitchen utensils at swap meets and now pitches Shamwow absorbent towels. Slate recently commended his selling skills -- "a street-smart persona ' with rat-a-tat phrasing and fuhgeddaboutit confidence." Before Shamwow, Offer did infomercials for DVDs of a 1999 movie he directed called 'Underground Comedy Movie,' which was a series of sketches about taboo topics.
Pitches for: OxiClean, OrangeGlo, GatorBlade and others
"Hi! Billy Mays here for '" insert product name here. With his booming voice and over-caffeinated personality, Mays is currently pitching 9 products and expects his mug on 14 infomercials by Labor Day (look for him shooting a "bug bazooka" called GatorBlade). A college dropout, Mays began his career as a salesperson on Atlantic City's boardwalk, selling the "WashMatik" to passersby. He was hired to promote OrangeGlo products on HSN -- 6,000 units sold in 11 minutes on his first day. Next: Infomerical Star No. 5
With his charming British accent, Sullivan hosts, writes, directs and produces ads about kitchen appliances like the Swivel Sweeper, Foodsaver, Magikan and Smart Chopper. Back in his native England, Sullivan came across a product called the Smart Mop, and teamed up with the company selling it. That brought him to the Home Shopping Network, which hired him as a prime-time host. In 1999, he left and formed Sullivan Productions, and now creates infomercials for others. Next: Infomerical Star No. 6
In 1978, Dyson became frustrated with vacuum cleaners that clogged, so he decided to create his own. He ran through 5,127 prototypes in five years until he perfected a bagless upright using a spinning technology to keep its suction constant. Dyson hosted infomercials for his vacuum cleaners when they were introduced in the U.S. in 2002, and even though they cost up to $700, they developed a cult-like following. In 2004, sales quadrupled to $747 million, and Dyson's current net worth is estimated to be nearly $2 billion. Next: Infomerical Star No. 7
Irwin's infomercials are usually shown on late-night TV, and he says up front, "Please excuse the language I am about to use, if it is offensive in any way." That's because Irwin pitches one of the most squeamish products around -- a colon cleanser product. Klee has had enough success since his 2006 debut with Dual-Action that he has gone on to create infomercials for Libido-Max sex-booster pills and the "Will to Live" weight-loss program. Next up: more products for weight loss and diabetes. Next: Infomerical Star No. 8
Blanks is probably the pitchman who has mingled with the most celebrities. After a career as a karate champion and actor in martial-arts movies, he invented the Tae Bo workout, which combines martial arts and boxing. He opened a gym in Los Angeles to teach it, and word-of-mouth spread. Paula Abdul was his first celebrity client, but Blanks' infomercials have included endorsements from Carmen Electra and Shaquille O'Neal. Olympic swimming star Dara Torres used to be a co-host, but Blanks has recently paired up with his daughter. Next: Infomerical Star No. 9
Pitches for: Showtime Rotisserie, Chop-O-Matic, Smokeless Ashtray and dozens more
The godfather of infomercial stars, Popeil is known for catchy lines. Of his Showtime Rotisserie: "Set it and forget it." Of his Dial-O-Matic: "Slice a tomato so thin it only has one side." And for every product: "But wait ... there's more!" Popeil first appeared on TV in the 60s, pushing his dad's Chop-o-Matic and Veg-O-Matic machines. Popeil told Forbes his ideas have earned him $2 billion. Next: Infomerical Star No. 10
Pitches for: Blast Off the Pounds, Sweatin' to the Oldies, more
Simmons is a 1980s icon, and still looks the same these days as he did then with his tight shorts, sequined tanks and high-energy personality. After growing up an overweight kid then shedding 123 pounds, he started pitching weight-loss plans and aerobics. Since first appearing on QVC in 1986 then turning to infomercials, Simmons has sold more than 27 million products like his 'Sweatin' to the Oldies' videos and 'Deal A Meal' food plan. His 16th and latest infomercial is for "Blast Off the Pounds." Next: Infomerical Star No. 11
One of the few women to make it to the top of the infomercial hierarchy, Powter ranks up there as one of those annoying-or-exhilarating salespeople with her platinum buzz cut and (in)famous catchphrase, Stop the Insanity! Her book hit the New York Times bestseller list in its first week. Gross revenues for 1993, when her infomercial debuted, hit $50 million. Powter wrote two more bestsellers, then disappeared until 2002, when she wrote another Insanity-type book and started appearing on cable shows. Next: Infomerical Star No. 2
Lesko is famous for two things: as being "that question mark" guy in the Riddler-like suit he wears on and off the air, and for his books and infomercials telling people how to get "free" money from the U.S. government. He's also known for a high-speed, high-pitched shriek. And yes, Lesko does wear his signature suits everywhere.