In Memory of Gary Q. Ouellet
January 9 1945 - June 8 2002
Gary Quart Ouellet
On the 8th of June, in Portugal, Gary Quart Ouellet passed away at the age of 57.
Gary Ouellet co-founded the Camirand Academy of Magic Inc. with Guy Camirand in 1978, his contributions to magic as a a writer, consultant, composer, director, performer, choreographer and even a graphics designer have made him one of the 100 most influent people of the 20th century in the field of magic, according to MAGIC MAGAZINE. His influence will persist thanks to his numerous magic books, booklets, magic videos, illusions, shows and plays, musical contributions, TV Special and writings in the field of commercial law. Gary's contributions to the world of show business is significant but is impact on the political life and society in Canada was equally important.
Ouellet Career Overview
Gary with Lance Burton
Gary Ouellet, a stage and the television producer behind several Las Vegas magic shows and a string of popular network TV variety specials, Ouellet died of a heart attack in Portugal, where he was producing a television show, said Las Vegas Wayne Bernath, a friend and publicist for Strip magician Lance Burton. As a successful television writer and producer, Ouellet worked with Burton and David Copperfield and produced NBC's magic specials such as "The World's Greatest Magic." He also wrote and directed "Melinda -- First Lady of Magic" at The Venetian, as well as her 1997 television special, and Steve Wyrick's magic show at the Sahara.
influence on magic was profound," Burton said. "Gary was
in large part responsible forthe current popularity of magic. The
entire magic community is in mourning. I will miss him."
Ouellet called Los Angeles his home, but spent much of his time in Las Vegas. Working with his business partner David Tumaroff in Area 52 Entertainment, Ouellet last year produced the strip club-set musical comedy "Tease" for the Aladdin. "He left a lot of footprints in Las Vegas," Bernath said.
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 Darwin, whose
group is planning a service at which a magic wand will be broken
in Ouellet's honor. "It was a big shock that we should lose
Born in Canada in January 1945, Ouellet became interested in magic as a boy after receiving a Mysto Magic Exhibition Set, a popular children's toy at the time.As a teeanger, he perform a magic act that was the opening for headliners in the best Cabaret of Quebec city in the early nineteen fifties and his bird act was amazing according to Guy Camirand. While pursuing magic part time as an adult, the French-Canadian Ouellet worked as a trial lawyer and as a government lobbyist before coming to the United States to enter show business.
In the 1990s, he produced more than 50 hours of network television, including "The World's Most Dangerous Acts" and "The World's Wildest Magic," both for NBC. Darwin said Ouellet also wrote well-received books and magazine articles on magic. Burton, Darwin and other Las Vegas magicians and stage performers described Ouellet's death as jarring, saying he was in good health.
"I have lost much more than a partner, I lost a dear friend that goes back to my childhood. Gary was the most generous person I have ever met and was always ready to help and I took the liberty to include some of these testimonials that show the great person Gary was. Gary was always an inspiration and supportive of me and was a very stimulating person to be with. I have often said that there would be no Camirand Academy if Gary had not been my partner, writer and supporter.
God bless you. "
I am writing these words whilst I go through the most terrible moments of my first 32 years. Almost all the problems we have during everyday life have somekind of solution. But when the life of someone we love and admire comes to an unexpected, sudden end, there is no solution. Things we wanted to say, feelings we wanted to share, no longer have a chance to be said or shared. The world in which we magicians live has just suffered an enormous loss. I was there. I tried to wake him. He wouldn't listen. He was forever sleeping in peace. With an incredible and contagious happiness on his face, he went to bed. I believe he left us without noticing.
Gary arrived in Portugal (Lisbon) on the 6th of June. That night we had a business meeting at the Stadia & Arena Congress Hall.
The next day we drove together to Oporto where we did a show. After the show we watched a fireworks show from directly underneath it. That moment was captured in this picture.
We then drove together to Castelo de Vide listening TEASE soundtrack all the way through. After arriving to our destination where we were due to do another show, I took him to his hotel room. Before saying good night he asked, with a big smile, for me to wake him up two hours before the show. I was never able to do that. Around one o'clock the following day, I knocked on his door. There was no reply. After repeated knocking and still no reply I ended up forcing the door open. I have no words to describe what happened then. I can only assure you that no one else in the world would have treated him with more respect, love, and care.
After sorting out all the necessary details, I hope to be flying with him to Quebec City shortly. The funeral will take place next Friday afternoon.
"That moment was captured in this picture."
Luis De Matos
Directly or indirectly Gary influenced the life of more people than many would realise. Gary was a gift. So many talents, so much knowledge. A great magician, director, producer, composer, writer and designer but above all, Gary was a great man. He will always live in the hearts of those who really knew who he was. Let us always deserve the respect he had for us.
Luis de Matos
have cried all day. I had tears in my eyes as I walked on stage.
I have tears in my eyes now. I already miss you so very much and
it hurts so bad. You were everything that is good about this business
and this life. You were a friend that I could always call when
I did not know the answers and you always delivered. You were so
kind and you gave me so much. You were the most brilliant human
I knew and I was so proud to call you my friend. I will miss the
hours we spent talking, I will miss the jokes that seemed to arrive
daily by e-mail, I will miss the times you, Ryan and I spent together,
I will miss
Your other son,"
Gary Ouellet was a very special person who loved magic and magicians. One of his many accomplishments was in helping magic become a viable art on television while aiding many in our field to become recognized stars. He has created from small illusions to entire shows for some of the best-known magicians of today. Magic owes a great debt to him, as he was instrumental in inspiring an entire generation of magicians. I first met Gary more than 20 years ago and he saw a spark in me that even I was unaware of; he encouraged me and even wrote and published my first hardcover book. I will always be indebted to his generosity and friendship.
"Gary was the source of my passion for magic, he help me significantly through the many years I was a weekly feature on the "Ad Lib" TV Show, he planned with my me my first full evening show "Premiere Apparition" and he gave me the opportunity to be part of many of his World Greatest Magic TV Specials and much more."
"Uncle*" Gary was always kind and generous with me. I know you have a long history with Gary, and many others have a closer friendship with him than did I. But I had a few wonderful times with him.
He co-wrote my lecture notes with me, supported me in my pursuit to better myself as a performer, introduced me to several of my heroes who, thanks to Gary, eventually became friends like you. We shared many late night phonecalls after his TV specials. He would call me in Boston from Canada and try out new scripts and ideas on me over the phone. I would call him and do the same. (I realize he did this with many people, but this was very special to me.) Lots of laughs at conventions, and even shared the heat in a minor controversy in Genii magazine many years ago. Even though our lives, still connected through magic, went in different directions, we still stayed in touch. In other words, he was also my friend.
This is a sad day for magic. This is a sad day for us. This is a sad day for me.I am grateful for the time we did get to share, but I regret the times that are no longer going to happen. I will miss him. Thank you, Uncle Gary."
* Editor notes: Gary was not a relative of David. David was much younger than Gary and by calling him Uncle, David add a meaning to how special Gary was for him.
"J'ai rencontré Gary à l'occasion des "Monte Carlo Magic Stars" qu'il était venu filmer pour "Champions Of Magic". Nous avons passé pas mal de temps ensemble et j'ai vraiment été touché par sa gentillesse et son amour de la magie. Et puis surtout, j'ai découvert quelqu'un d'immensément talentueux dans des domaines aussi divers que la musique, l'écriture, la mise en scène, la production, le droit et j'en oublie tellement la liste est longue.
Ce fut donc un immense honneur quand Gary accepta d'écrire la préface de mon livre il y a quelques mois et je lui en serai toujours infiniment reconnaissant. Il a été d'une aide précieuse dans ma carrière et je suis très fier que nos chemins se soient croisés. La communauté magique vient de perdre un homme exceptionnel et je viens de perdre un ami. "
condolences to his family.
TONY BINARELLI - QUI MAGIA
"Salut Gary !
do remember our meetings at The Ritz Carlton in Montreal. You were
always knocking me down with your coins and cards maipulations.
In fact I was the one manipulated.You were doing what you want
with my mind. I was seduced and speechless. I do regret these unique
moments. A real private show with the one and only Gary Ouellet.
I also thank you for the support givent by you and Alain Choquette
in my dream of Le Festival Mondial de la Magie.
lost you down here but I'm sure there will be a Big Magic Festival
somewhere in the sky and I'm sure you will knock them all.
Michel Corriveau, APR
a poem by Ed Parrish
Click on the title to see the poem
It just won't go away. . that feeling of emptiness. . .the gnawing in the pit of your stomach. . .the awful sensation when losing someone very special. Yet, despite all the hurt, a gentle warmness fills the soul as wonderful memories rush in to soothe the pain. Thoughts of the many countless hours spent together, laughing, joking, exploring new ideas, working to bring enjoyment and pleasure to those countless people we have yet to meet and just enjoying each others company.
My friend had no equals. Blessed he was, indeed, with all the wonderful qualities one considers to be the finest of this human race. He could have chosen any profession and been successful. I am thankful for one of his many talents to have crossed with one of my passions opening the door to our long relationship. A generous and fair person, never forgetting the "little people".
He's gone for a ride on a moonbeam to places we can only dream about. . .preparing the way for us. My friend, you may have gone on that magical ride but you will never be forgotten for there is a plaque with your name on it permanently attached to my heart. Till our next espresso. . .
* note: Moonbeams was a tune Gary wrote and gave to me many years ago.
met Gary on several occasions but the one time that sticks to mind
is this time when, at a convention, he was teaching me "the
Pass". Everyone was queuing to talk to him and I wanted to
cut this session short so that others would have a chance to consult
with him. But Gary, true to himself, was relaxed, patient, pleasant
and would not let me go until I performed the Pass to his liking.
been many years since we last spoke. But I just wanted to send
my condolances to you and Gary's family for your tragic loss. I
remember "hanging" with Gary and you at the New York
Magic Symposium back in 1985, like it was yesterday. Gary left
a vivid impression of being a kind and generous individual, eager
to share his magical knowledge and wisdom. Unlike other magicians,
he wasn't one to "hold back", and was eager to share.
My sessions and talks with Gary during those few days were among
the most enjoyable I've had in the magic field, and although we
were together only a few days I still can feel his friendship and
enthusiam. His books were insightful and well written, a joy to
read. He will be missed. Thanks for the opportunity to express
was in shock when I first heard that Gary had left us so early.
I had just met him a few weeks ago at the Cabaret "Les Folies
de Paris", in Quebec city, where I was performing. He was
so friendly, as always, and he talked about magic with a passion
and excitement that showed how much he loved the art of magic.
He was leaving Canada the very next morning. I was already looking
forward to our next meeting...
Gary has had a great influence on my performing style. I'll always remember how he took the time in 1990 to help me with an act I was working on for a contest. He was so generous with his time, even if a was still a "beginner" in the art.Magic has lost a great teacher, writer, and thinker.
We'll miss you, Gary."
Ouellet Rememberence by Jonathan Pendragon
met Gary during the magic-special [The Pendragon's] golden era
of the 90s. We created an
Some producers create problems by toying with a performers act. The great producers know how to frame and place a performer so that their work is seen in the best light. Gary belonged to the second group. He loved magic, all magic, and cared deeply about every performer and the vast spectrum of styles that was paraded before the camera on what came to be known as the Gary specials. This is the affectionate nickname coined by those who were fortunate enough to be booked on the specials.
called them the Gary specials because Gary Ouellet worked for legendary
Gary was a soft-spoken man who had an easy charm, you couldn't help but like him. When Hans Klok and I were booked on the same special, Gary worried that the contraversy between us might lead to battle. Unknown to me, Gary spent a lot of time trying to keep me and Hans from coming face to face. Gary finally got the two of us together, Hans and I talked and we have been good friends ever since. That was Gary, he didn't like the intrigue that magic seems so prone to create.
Anyone who really loves magic maintains the childlike delight in being fooled, even if they make their living creating, producing and performing magic. He would constantly grab and pull me into the video bay to show me some new performer or some new piece of magic. He would jump up and down with joy like he was ten years old. I remember when he showed me Guy Holingsworth's video. He had me watch it and then he exclaimed, "We've got him for the next special, can you believe it, can you believe what he is doing?" That excitment ran through all of his work. Like most of us who make our living in magic, he couldn't believe that he was so lucky.
will miss my friend and I mourn his death. Just before dawn, I
took a wand from my collection and broke it at the foot of the
giant oak that stands in front of my home. Then
* Test Conditions (being performed by David Copperfield)
The following were the last Illusions offerred on is his site Ouellet Entertainment www.magictv.cc
Illusions For Which Gary Ouellet Was a Major Contributor
* Flying (David Copperfield)
Gary Ouellet photo by John Tregget,
circa early 1970