Dick Wilson

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For other people named Dick Wilson, see Dick Wilson (disambiguation).
Dick Wilson
Born Riccardo Di Guglielmo
(1916-07-30)30 July 1916
Preston, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom
Died 19 November 2007(2007-11-19) (aged 91)
Woodland Hills, Los Angeles
California, USA
Resting place
Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills, California
Years active 1956 – 1989, 1999 – 2000
Spouse(s) Meg (1950 - 19 November 2007, (57 years), his death)
Children Melanie Wilson, Stuart F. Wilson, Wendy Wilson

Dick Wilson, born Riccardo Di Guglielmo (30 July 1916 – 19 November 2007), was a British-born Canadian character actor who played the role of finicky grocery store manager Mr. (George) Whipple in over 500 Charmin toilet paper television commercials (1965–1989, 1999-2000).[1]

Biography[edit]

Dick Wilson was born in Preston, Lancashire, England, to Veronica and Randolf Wilson. His father performed in vaudeville; his mother was a singer. In late 1916, his father moved the family to Hamilton, Ontario, Canada where he spent his childhood in the Corktown district and on the Mountain, attending Queen Victoria and Sacred Heart Schools. He had a Hamilton Spectator newspaper route and got his start in show business with a part-time job at CHML radio in Hamilton at age fifteen.[2]

Wilson graduated from the Ontario College of Art & Design and then became a comic dancer in vaudeville. He enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force and served as a pilot in World War II. After the war he moved to the United States and became an American citizen in 1954. He then worked as an acrobatic dancer in New York before heading to California in 1954 for film and TV work.[2]

Wilson made numerous appearances as several characters on the television sitcom Bewitched (usually as the drunk) he reprised his role as "The Drunk" on the Bewitched spin-off "Tabitha". and McHale's Navy, sometimes a neighbour or other stock character, various episodes between numbers 33 and 247. He played a similar character in Disney's The World's Greatest Athlete in 1973. Wilson also appeared on The Donna Reed Show, Hogan's Heroes, and The Bob Newhart Show.[2]

Wilson was quoted as saying, "I've done thirty-eight pictures and nobody remembers any of them, but they all remember me selling toilet paper." Wilson made 504 commercials as Mr. Whipple, earning U.S. $300,000 annually and working only twelve days a year.[2]

In an interview with ABC News on 22 April 1983, he mentioned that the first series of commercials for Charmin toilet paper he appeared in were filmed in, appropriately enough, Flushing, New York.[3]

He described acting in commercials as "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."[4]

In appreciation for his performance of the recognizable character, Procter & Gamble famously provided Wilson with a free lifetime supply of Charmin.[5]

Death[edit]

Wilson died at the Motion Picture and Television Hospital in Woodland Hills, California, United States, on 19 November 2007[6] at age 91.

Wilson is survived by his wife, Meg, and children, Stunt coordinator Stuart F. Wilson, Wendy, and actress Melanie Wilson, and five grandchildren. He was buried at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles.

Filmography[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]