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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Looking out for our own » » Sad news, Gary Ouellet passes away... (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Steve Brooks
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On Saturday, June 8th, magic icon Gary Ouellet died from heart failure at the young age of 57.

Gary was in Potugal (working on a new magic special with Luis DeMatos at the time) and passed away in his sleep.

The popularity of magic was given a major boost due to the efforts of Gary, who was responsible for much of the magic seen on television in the last few years.

Besides producing the famous The World's Greatest Magic specials seen yearly on NBC, Ouellet also produced The World's Wildest Magic and The World's Most Dangerous Acts, these were shown on NBC as well.

Gary also directed Melinda's magic special, and has been involved in numerous other magic projects, in one way or another.

A genuine nice guy who was always available to help another in the art, I for one am saddened at the loss of such a great talent.
Indeed, my prayers and thoughts go out to his family and friends.
"Always be you because nobody else can" - Steve Brooks
Scott O.
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Here is Gary Ouellet’s obituary from The Globe & Mail, Canada's national newspaper:


Ottawa lawyer became magic impresario. One-time CEO of Quebec lobbying firm had close ties to Mulroney government.
By SHERYL UBELACKER
Canadian Press and wire services
Wednesday, June 12, 2002 – Page R7


A Quebec lawyer who transformed himself from a high-powered Ottawa lobbyist into a world-renowned magic-show impresario, has died. He was 57.

Gary Ouellet, who worked with such top-name magicians as David Copperfield and Lance Burton, died in his sleep Saturday in Portugal.

Producer Gary Pudney called Mr. Ouellet's death "a major loss for the magic world.

"He was certainly one of the most important magic executives in the world," Mr. Pudney said Monday from Los Angeles. The pair co-produced a number of magic variety specials for television, including The World's Greatest Magic on NBC.

Mr. Ouellet, who had been living in the United States for about 10 years, was chosen one of magic's 100 most-influential people of the 20th century by Magic magazine.

"Gary is going to go down in history in the magic world as one of the producers of The World's Greatest Magic television show, as well as numerous other TV shows," said Magic publisher Stan Allen from Las Vegas. "These shows were a real shot in the arm to the magic boom."

A Quebec City lawyer and friend of Brian Mulroney, Mr. Ouellet was CEO of Government Consultants International, a lobbying firm with close and often controversial ties to the former prime minister's Progressive Conservative government of the 1980s.

In the early nineties, Mr. Ouellet turned his hand to what friends called his first love -- magic -- becoming a consultant to master illusionist David Copperfield.

But he was also enamoured by music and theatre, said business partner David Tumaroff, who co-created the musical comedy Tease with Mr. Ouellet. The show, for which Mr. Ouellet composed 12 musical numbers, is currently on stage in Las Vegas.

"I always called him a Renaissance man. He was a musician, a lawyer, a magician, a creator of magic," said Mr. Pudney, who added that Mr. Ouellet was "a diversified human that was very good at a lot of different things."

Mr. Ouellet, who also invented a range of illusionists' props,
was responsible for some famous show-business careers, said Mr. Tumaroff.

"Every magician in the world would have to credit him at some point with either putting them on television or guiding them in some way into a major successful career.

"We're in a business where people spend a lot of time trying to make themselves famous," he said. "Gary spent a lot of time making other people famous."

Acting as a creative consultant, Mr. Ouellet was in Portugal to help produce a television show for illusionist Luis de Matos, said Wayne Bernath, publicist for Lance Burton.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Mr. Ouellet also wrote and directed Melinda -- First Lady of Magic at The Venetian hotel and casino, as well as Melinda's 1997 television special, and Steve Wyrick's magic show at the Sahara.

"His influence on magic was profound," Mr. Burton said.
"Gary was in large part responsible for the current popularity
of magic. The entire magic community is in mourning. I will
miss him."

While Mr. Ouellet called Los Angeles his home, he spent much of his time in Las Vegas where he and Mr. Tumaroff ran a company called Area 52 Entertainment. "He left a lot of footprints in Las Vegas," Mr. Bernath told the Review-Journal.

Mr. Ouellet himself was an accomplished amateur magician, said Gary Darwin, head of the Las Vegas chapter of the Society of American Magicians.

"He was just a swell guy -- a real handsome kid," said Mr. Darwin, whose group is planning a service at which a magic wand will be broken in Mr. Ouellet's honour. "It was a big shock that we should lose him."

Mr. Ouellet became interested in magic as a boy after receiving a Mysto Magic Exhibition Set, a popular children's toy at the time. He later continued his magic act even while pursuing his career in law and as an Ottawa lobbyist. He also wrote books and magazine articles on magic.

"The whole goal of magic is to give us back a sense of wonder," he told The Chicago Sun-Times in 1999. "Magic is a highly sophisticated art form, and we really get it in very small amounts on television, if you think about it. [Television] specials account for maybe five or six hours of televised magic each year. I think there's a hunger out there among viewers to see this kind of illusion."

Mr. Ouellet also appreciated the element of hazard and the potential of personal injury as entertainment values.

"We've got the element of danger in these shows," he once said. "We save to find ways to make it compelling television."

By all accounts, he was successful. In 1999, one of his television specials featured Margo, a female magician who was buried in a coffin filled with 100 rats; she vanished from the box and reappeared moments later at the back of the theatre. Then there was the tour de force by Canadian Dean Gunnarson, perhaps the world's foremost escape artist, who wriggled out of a straitjacket while hanging upside down above a pit of alligators. Mr. Gunnarson, who was among of Mr. Ouellet's roster of performers, once experienced near-death for 17 seconds when an underwater escape went wrong. A few years earlier, he lost several fingers while trying to escape from a car about to be crushed at a wrecking yard.

All told, Mr. Oullet produced more than 50 hours of network television, including The World's Most Dangerous Acts and The World's Wildest Magic,both for NBC.

Mr. Ouellet leaves his wife Renée and three children. A funeral service and cremation will be held in Quebec City on Friday, followed next week by a special memorial service in Las Vegas.

Gary Ouellet, lawyer, impresario and magician; born in Quebec in January, 1945; died in Portugal, June 8, 2002.
Do not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time you will reap a harvest, if you do not give up. Galatians 6:9
DaveB
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I admired the work of this true gentleman. He will be sadly missed. Smile
Jeb Sherrill
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Indeed. Smile

Sable
Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile
I don't believe in reincarnation, but I may have in another life.
magicmanr
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He will be missed -

Smile
thehawk
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Gary was a pleasure to watch on video. I still have 3 of his videos and watch them every now and then. His videos which I think were produced in Newfoundland were very informative. I also enjoyed his magic specials on TV which he helped work on. Videos were hard to come by when I first purchased his, so I just want to say THANKS GARY, you will be missed by many.
Dr. TORA
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A big loss without any doubt. Peace to ashes.
Magically Yours,

OZLEN TUNCER /Dr.TORA

Have you visited my new Website in English, yet?

www.magictora.com or www.torasmagic.com
Mr. Magician
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Yes, a great person.
I am Portuguese and I was a personal friend of his. He has died in the city Coimbra when he was going to a show of Luis de Matos.
Martin Carli
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I have had the tremendous priviledge of him being my first teacher in magic, though the Camirand Academy of Magic courses in Montreal, Canada. It is a great loss, that has been felt deeply by the magic community here in Montreal... To sample his creativity, check out his books Close-Up Illusions, and TV Performance Secrets. Both are available from the Camirand Academy of Magic and other dealers. You will not regret it.

Later...

Martin
Rodney Massey
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pickering, ontario
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I am 28 years old. I've been studying magic for 21 years. I had the great pleasure of meeting Gary at two conventions. He was not on the bill, but he did a lot of magic-he was incredible. The things that he did with a coin for the likes of Mike Skinner and David Williamson will stay with me forever. I didn't know him personally, but as a fellow Magician, I for one will never forget him nor the impact he has had on my performance of close-up magic.
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