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Famed US door-to-door salesman dies at 81

December 7, 2013

PORTLAND, Oregon (AP) — Bill Porter, the door-to-door salesman in Portland, Oregon, who was portrayed by William H. Macy in an Emmy-winning TV movie, has died at 81.

Porter spent decades trudging through Portland neighborhoods selling J.R. Watkins products, determined to make his way through life independently despite physical challenges. The Oregonian newspaper originally wrote about him at age 63, bringing him celebrity.

Porter had cerebral palsy, and spoke and walked with great difficulty. When he was young, the state considered him unemployable and suggested disability payments. He refused.

For years, he was Watkins’ top retail salesman in a four-state region.

His story made its way to Reader’s Digest and ABC’s “20/20.”

In 2003, Macy portrayed Porter in the movie “Door to Door,” which won four Emmys.

The Oregonian reports (http://bit.ly/1iEPGcx ) Porter went to the hospital Tuesday with stomach pain and died of an infection.

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