As I am writing this story, it is Thanksgiving Day. I woke up early this morning and about 8:00 a.m. received a text message from a friend that our mutual friend Gary Kassor had passed away. Gary passing away on Thanksgiving had me filled with mixed emotions. Gary had been in poor health for quite some time fighting serious diabetes so as his friend I was happy he was at peace. Being that it is Thanksgiving, I am very grateful for Gary having come into my life. He was not only one of the nicest people you could have ever met in your life but he was also one of the most talented people you could ever have met.
As Randy Bartlett points out in his seminars, some people are born with certain gift and others simply need to work day after day to polish their craft. Gary was born with the gift of humor.
I first met Gary at a DJ Expo in Chicago in 1992. He was an attendee asking questions at a microphone. I happened to be in line for something and apparently had too serious of a look on my face and Gary made some comment to me about it which made me smile. He introduced himself to me and the next thing you knew, we were having lunch.
Gary owned a small DJ company in Cleveland called Uptown Entertainment. His specialty was making people smile. Long before props were popular in photo booths, Gary brought two huge totes with him to his events. During different songs he would simply pop on one of his hats and lip sync along to the words. He had a puppet of a girl in a dress that he would lip sync the duet of Unforgettable to amongst others. He would toss out his various hats to guests at the wedding and then next thing you knew, there was a sea of people dancing with colored hats all over the room. The pictures were incredible.
Gary soon became a fixture at DJ Conventions in the mid 1990’s and his advice and guidance was priceless. You see Gary’s talent wasn’t passing out silly hats, his talent was humor and his incredible ability to connect with people and make them smile and laugh. I remember telling him after we met that he should have been on television as a fun comedic host of some kind. He just had that personality.
He was also one of the most selfless people you could have ever met. He would talk to anyone about entertaining for as long as time allowed. In 1995, Gary was inducted into the American DJ Hall of Fame which was operated at the time by Ken Knotts.
Sadly, the severity of his diabetes took a toll on his health and he was forced to leave the business. His passion for making people smile never went away however.
I as well as anyone reading this are better entertainers because of his willingness to help and inspire us to become better.
Gary Kassor was one of the nicest people you could have ever met and he will be missed.