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Cal Worthington
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Entrepreneur
    (November 27, 1920- )
    Born in Shidler, Oklahoma
    Auto dealer
    At his peak, owned 29 dealerships in the West and Southwest
    Known for his TV commercials featuring 'My dog Spot'
    In various commercials, Spot was a gorilla, a tiger, a lion, an elephant, a water buffalo, a hippo, a killer whale and Deacon Jones (among other critters)
    Appeared in the films 'Save the Tiger' (1973) and 'Killer Tomatoes Strike Back!' (1991)
    He wanted to be a commercial pilot, but was rejected because he did not have a college degree.
    During an appearance on The Tonight Show, his latest Spot -- a goose -- ruined Johnny Carson's suit.
    He settled deceptive advertising charges by the California state attorney general by paying fines of $50,000 in 1978 and $60,000 in 1979.
    In the late 1990s, General Motors stopped selling him dealerships because of poor customer satisfaction at his existing lots.
    In 2011, he married an Icelandic singer nearly 50 years younger than him, who filed for divorce before the year was over.
    He said, 'I never much liked the car business. I just kind of got trapped in it after the war.'
    He flew with the Army Air Corps in World War II, earning five Air Medals and the Distinguished Flying Cross.
    He hosted a country music show, 'Cal's Corral,' from his dealership, with musical guests that included Johnny Cash, Buck Owens and Roger Miller.
    His accountant embezzled $350,000 from him (1969).
    The Television Bureau of Advertising described him as 'probably the best known car dealer pitchman in history.'
    He is believed to be the most successful car salesman ever, selling over a million cars during his career.
    His explanation for his success: 'I worked a lot harder than the other guys did.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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