Cal Worthington, Beloved Car Salesman, Dies at 92
Cal Worthington, the Oklahoma native whose old-time carnival flair built one of the most successful car dealerships west of the Mississippi, has died. He was 92.
Worthington died Sunday while watching football at his home on the Big W Ranch near Orland, Calif., said Brady McLeod of the Miles Law Firm in Sacramento, which represented Worthington.
Described as a cross between Dale Carnegie and Slim Pickens, Worthington was best known for his wacky television pitches that had him wrestling with a tiger, flying upside down on an airplane wing or riding a killer whale. His sales antics with his “Dog Spot” drove a career that took him from a three-car lot on a patch of Texas dirt to a multi-make dealership empire that grossed billions of dollars and stretched from Southern California to Alaska.
In 1950, Worthington bought a car dealership in Huntington Park and in the years that followed began to use his down-home theatrical style to drum up more business.
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