Barry Becher, Ginsu Knives Media Genius, Dies at 71

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By Daniel Distant, Christian Post Reporter
June 29, 2012|9:40 am

Barry Becher, the marketing genius behind products like the Ginsu knife, the Miracle Painter, and Armourcote Cookware, died Friday in a West Palm Beach, Fla. hospital. The 71-year-old lost his battle to kidney cancer, which was exacerbated by complications from surgery, according to his family.

Barry Becher, along with business partner Ed Valenti, forever changed the way products were bought and sold on television, making their mark on the informercial and advertising industries simultaneously.

"But wait … there's more," was the iconic phrase coined by the pair, though Valenti admitted that at the time, they were just trying to sell products, not affect the industry permanently.

"We wanted to sell products and we were having a great time," Valenti, a close personal friend of Becher, told ABC News. "We didn't realize at that time we were changing history."

Becher and Valenti sold millions of their Ginsu knives after the debut of their 1978 commercial. The knife- which pitchman Michael Walshe demonstrated could cut through just about anything- was a novel idea, but the businessmen's promises of "much, much more" reeled customers in.

While the two were very successful businessmen, making over $500 million off of their pitching, re-branding, and selling of various products, they were also close friends. Valenti recalled that when he arrived at his first meeting with Becher, he discovered they drove the same 1972 Datsun 240Z- and in orange, no less.

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"And I got out of the car and I said, 'Well this guy obviously has class,'" Valenti said.

Together, they would go on to help popularize credit cards and 800-numbers for TV sales, establish a precedent for the 30-minute informercial and Home Shopping Network, and build a media buying firm, PriMedia.

The two also become fast friends in the process, with their wives already being old schoolmates, and Becher baptized Valenti's daughter, even though Becher was Jewish and Valenti Catholic. The last time they spoke was a few months ago.

"I'm deeply saddened by the fact that I didn't have a chance to say goodbye to my friend and to tell him how much everyone loved him," Valenti admitted.

Becher's funeral was on Monday. His family is considering putting "But wait, there's more!" on the tombstone, according to ABC News.

 

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