WILLOUGHBY-L ArchivesArchiver > WILLOUGHBY > 2000-01 > 0948567916
Subject: [WILLOUGHBY] Obit PA 1995 (Born in Britain)
Date: Sat, 22 Jan 2000 14:05:16 EST
Headline: ROGER WILLOUGBY-RAY Man -- and voice -- of many radio ads
Publication Date: December 06, 1995
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Obituary: Roger Willougby-Ray's resonant British voice made women swoon. It
also sold cars, ski weekends and electric power.
The owner of Willoughby Communications in Carnegie did the voice-overs for
the many radio and TV commercials he wrote and produced.
Though known for his quick wit, Mr. Willoughby-Ray took a straightforward,
hard-hitting approach to advertising. He cared more about selling a product
than about doing creative back flips to impress other advertising people,
Mr. Willoughby-Ray, 64, of Upper St. Clair, died of a heart attack Monday in
St. Clair Hospital.
Born in Britain, he was youthful and debonair, tall and lanky in the
double-breasted suits he favored.
But it was his voice -- a deep, knowing voice -- that was most distinctive,
on radio commercials and as a talk show host on radio.
"Most stuff on radio is just noise," says Tom Purcell, a friend. "But his
voice would come on, and it would totally penetrate. You would stop what you
"Women loved his voice," said his wife, Rena, also a business partner at the
advertising agency. "They would call up and swoon. It had a slight accent and
very good tone."
Mr. Willoughby-Ray came to Pittsburgh in 1964 after living in Britain,
Argentina, Thailand and Canada, his wife said. He served as general manager
of WEEP from 1968 to 1978, she said. He then hosted a talk show on WEEP. In
the mid-1980s, he also did a talk show on KQV radio.
Brent Weiner, account executive at KQV, said Mr. Willoughby-Ray loved to rib
"He was always joking, always tough on you, always giving you low cuts,
bringing you down to earth. But it was his way of showing affection. It was
all in good fun. If Roger didn't joke with you, you were in trouble."
In 1978, Mr. Willoughby-Ray started his advertising agency, originally called
Willoughby & Associates.
The agency did advertisements for clients, including McKean Corp. auto
dealerships, Hidden Valley, 84 Lumber and West Penn Power Co. Billings grew
to more than $5 million a year.
Mr. Willoughby-Ray also was passionately interested in health care reform. He
was an exercise buff, playing basketball every day.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by three sons, Scott R. of Florida,
Brett J. of Chicago and Sean R. of Bridgeville; and a sister, Ingrid Lowe of
Friends will be received from 1 to 5 and 7 to 9 p.m. today at the
Brusco-Napier Funeral Home in Beechview, where the funeral will be at 11 a.m.
tomorrow. Interment will be in Jefferson Memorial Park, Pleasant Hills.