In the TV spots, Mr. Whipple would berate the female customers for irresistibly squeezing the Charmin packages -- pointing at a large sign and exclaiming, "Ladies, please! Don't squeeze the Charmin!" Surprisingly, his repeat customers shrugged and walked away without so much as a scowl.
Though somehow, actor Dick Wilson made it work. The ornery shopkeep charmed consumers and, by appearing in more than 500 commercials, Mr. Whipple is one of the most prolific and widely known celebrity pitchmen. However, not many people know the man behind the toilet paper.
Dick Wilson was born Riccardo DiGuglielmo in Lancashire, England, in 1916. Four years later, his family moved to Hamilton, Ontario, where the actor assumed his mother's maiden name of Wilson so he wouldn't be typecast as an Italian. Wilson dabbled in radio in his teens and eventually became an acrobatic dancer in New York after serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force in World War II. By 1954, he moved to California to pursue a life of acting in TV and film.