Actor Dick Wilson is shown in this undated 1983 file photo. Wilson, the character actor and pitchman who for 21 years played an uptight grocer begging customers "Please, don't squeeze the Charmin," died Monday Nov. 19, 2007. He was 91.
LOS ANGELES Dick Wilson, the actor and pitchman who played the uptight grocer begging customers "Please, don't squeeze the Charmin,'' died Monday. He was 91.
The man famous as TV's "Mr. Whipple'' died of natural causes at the Motion Picture & Television Fund Hospital in Woodland Hills, said his daughter Melanie Wilson, who is known for her role as a flight attendant on the ABC sitcom "Perfect Strangers.''
Over 21 years, Wilson made more than 500 commercials as Mr. George Whipple, a man consumed with keeping bubbly housewives from fondling the soft toilet paper. The punch line of most spots was that Whipple himself was a closeted Charmin-squeezer.
Wilson also played a drunk on several episodes of "Bewitched,'' as appeared as various characters on "Hogan's Heroes,'' "The Bob Newhart Show,'' and Walt Disney productions.
The first of his Charmin commercials aired in 1964 and by the time the campaign ended in 1985, the tag line and Wilson were pop culture touchstones.
"Everybody says, 'Where did they find you?' I say I was never lost. I've been an actor for 55 years,'' Wilson told the San Francisco Examiner in 1985.
Though Wilson said he initially resisted commercial work, he learned to appreciate its nuance.
"It's the hardest thing to do in the entire acting realm. You've got 24 seconds to introduce yourself, introduce the product, say something nice about it and get off gracefully.''
Dennis Legault, Procter & Gamble's Charmin brand manager, said in a statement that Wilson deserves much of the credit for the product's success in the marketplace. He called the Mr. Whipple character "one of the most recognizable faces in the history of American advertising.''