`Mr. Whipple' TV actor Dick Wilson dies

TV Arts


By JEFF WILSON, Associated Press Writer

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

"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

After Wilson retired, he continued to do occasional guest appearances
for the brand and act on television. He declared himself not impressed
with modern cinema.

"The kind of pictures they're making today, I'll stick with toilet
paper," he told The Associated Press in 1985.

Procter & Gamble eventually replaced the Whipple ads with cartoon
bears, but brought Wilson (as Whipple) back for an encore in 1999. The
ad showed Wilson "coming out of retirement" against the advice of his
golfing and poker buddies for one more chance to sell Charmin.

"He is part of the culture," his daughter said. "He was still funny to
the very end. That's his legacy."

He was born in England in 1916, the son of a vaudeville entertainer
and a singer. He moved to Canada as a child, serving in the Canadian
Air Force during World War II, and became a U.S. citizen in 1954, he
told the AP.

In addition to Melanie, Wilson is survived by his wife, Meg; a son,
Stuart; and another daughter, Wendy.


Associated Press writer Kathleen Hennessey in Las Vegas contributed to
this report.
Damn. Now he's w/ Gordon Jump the Maytag Repairman and bike store
pedophile (Diff'rent Strokes).
HA! The people on the IMBd message boards are so cruel... "RIP, You