For Gary

Ladies and gentlemen… I shall try not to be gloomy or morose here. In honor of a man who deserves such an honor (and who would have heartily appreciated the rock and roll reference)… I will borrow the famous line used to calm to the crowd after Elvis had ended his concerts:

“Gary Halbert has left the building.”

He died peacefully in his sleep, in his apartment in Miami Beach, sometime during the night of Sunday, April 8, 2007.

He was my friend, my colleague, my partner, my mentor… but mostly my friend. For over twenty years (many of them the wildest of my career), we shared a close, comforting relationship that included adventure, drama, tears and laughs.

Mostly laughs, of course. He was bigger than life, and could suck the air out of any room he entered without saying a word… preceded only by the shock-wave of his hard-earned reputation. He had a lust for experience, an astonishingly huge appetite for everything available in life, and took great pleasure in being who he was.

And he truly was a great man. He single-handedly changed the nature of modern direct response advertising… and through his teachings, spawned three generations (and still counting) of rabble-rousing entrepreneurs and marketers who continue to force the business world to bend to their will.

He was generous to a fault, never suffered fools, and earned the love and admiration of everyone he met. All genius has a few rough edges, and Gary’s rough edges were legendary… but none of us would have had it any other way. He was a total package, and his life was full and well-lived.

We shared a lot of tragedies, in between the triumphs, and it was his sense of humor that helped us to survive, and even come out stronger than ever.

I know, from personal experience, that when things got so bad even your closest friends shied away… Gary would stand next to you and weather the storm, blow for blow, refusing to let you down. And, when you just couldn’t cry about it any longer, he would make you laugh.

It rattles me to my core to think I’ll never hear that warm, lusty laugh again. Someday, I’ll be able to listen again to the recorded stuff we did together… and you cannot listen to anything Gary did for very long before you’ll hear him laugh.

I hear it now, in my heart, strong and clear and reminding me to stay strong.

He was a brave, formidable, brilliant man with more real talent and genius than seemed possible.

And godammit, he’s gone. I had a nice, invigorating chat with him on Friday, received an email from him on Saturday… and then today, I got one of the worst calls in my life. His sons Bond and Kevin, who I watched grow from teenagers into a strong, confident men, delivered the news.

Gary Halbert. Born June 12, 1938. Passed away April 8, 2007, just shy of his 69th birthday.

He leaves a void that will never, ever be filled. No one with any sense will even try. No one still around comes close to being worthy.

For twenty years, I have lived in a world with Gary close by. Even when he moved to the east coast, we remained bosom buddies, not just staying in touch, but desperate for word from each other and eager for long chats. We could talk for hours on the phone, just trying to make sense of the chaos and sharing our wonder at the ludicrous nature of reality.

I would not be who I am today without that long, amazing friendship.

This isn’t the loss of a single, good man.

This is a rip in the tender fabric of the universe. I can feel his absence, as if a large part of me has been hacked off.

Today, the world is smaller… more hostile… and vastly less fun than it was yesterday. Yesterday, when I still could have picked up the phone and enjoyed Gary’s soothing voice and thunderous laughter.

There will be a lot said of Gary in the coming months. He deserves a legacy fit for a king, and I will do my part in making that happen.

But for now, I don’t want to share my memories with you. For now, those memories are for me and his family alone, while the grief and shock runs its course.

A great man has moved from this corporeal adventure, to somewhere else where genius writers are welcomed and cared for. And while I strongly feel we will meet up again… for now, I must hold tight to the fading echo of our last conversation. I’m thankful I had the opportunity to tell him I loved him, one last time.

And I did love the man. Everyone who knew him did. For many of us, he was a rock, an anchor in a world roiling in confusion and danger.

Let no one say he didn’t live an amazing, purposeful and productive life. He touched a lot of lives. He shall be more than missed… and he will never be replaced.

Ladies and gentlemen… Gary Halbert, my dear friend, has left the building.

John Carlton

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  • A fitting tribute to the king of copy.

    John, Sylvie and I cried as we read your post out loud.

    I may not have spoken to him as often as you did, but I sure do remember — and will dearly miss — those long phone conversations. My jaw would be hurting for days on end from laughing so damn much.

    Love you Gary.

    Your Shitweasel In Training,
    Michel Fortin

  • Gerald Sheppeard says:

    Very well said John!

    Gary was one of the great ones! I always learned something valuable when I heard him speak. I am glad to have lived during his life.

    The world is a little smaller without Gary.


  • Ken Calhoun says:

    Well said, John.

    The world’s a smaller place for the loss of Gary, and his good nature and legendary skills are an inspiration to everyone.

    I feel sad for you, because you were so close to him, and I wish you the best, in dealing with the loss. And for everyone who respected, and learned from Gary. It’s never easy, losing someone you care about, and it was always heartening to read of your and Gary’s adventures over the years. It’s just not fair, as it never is, losing worthy, talented people.

    The world is indeed a smaller place for the loss of this legendary copywriter, and he will be missed.

    To all that he gave us, his legacy will live on in our memory, and let’s honor that by doing our best, and remembering.

    Ken Calhoun

  • Buddy says:

    Stunned. The music died.

  • John, I’m very sorry for your loss.

    Gary has touched a lot of lives and will be missed by many.

    John Ritskowitz

  • John,

    Thank you for sharing what all of us who knew Gary were thinking, in such an eloquent way.

    I only knew Gary personally for about 7 months but after studying his newsletters over the years, it was as though I had known him his entire life.

    At a seminar last year I met him in person with Bond, and after reading the Boron letters and tales of his life, I felt like I had watched this kid grow up.

    Being mentored by him for a short period of time I got to know the real Gary. It was a wonderful experience and I feel lucky to have had the opportunity.

    Truly a sad day for his family, and for all of us.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts…


  • Judy Kettenhofen says:


    When I read your blog, my eyes, like those of Michel & Sylvie’s, teared up.

    What I’ve learned from the stories I’ve heard of your time together could be put together in a “Bible of Marketing, Copywriting, and Life”, with the teachings a set of Commandments for all marketers and copywriters.

    A fitting, loving tribute to a legend from a man who knew him, learned from him, worked with him, played with him — in short, a tribute fitting the teacher from the oh-so apt student 🙂

  • […] board just after midnight. UPDATE: John Carlton, who was Gary’s best friend in this biz, wrote a blog post that says it […]

  • John,
    Words can’t describe what many of us are feeling right now. I recently had the opportunity to share email conversations with him. Although they were very short, I could see right through his tough exterior.

    As you already know, he was one of the nicest people anyone could have as a friend and his responses had me rolling on the floor… Such a great sense of humor, Gary had.

    I wish there was something I could say or do to help with the pain of losing such a good friend, but I can’t.

    All I can say is cherish the memories that you and Gary had together and know in your heart that he is right there with you — always.

    He’s a big part of you and will never leave your side.

  • Mike Morgan says:


    Your post hit me right in the gut.

    I’m sorry you lost such a good friend. I’m sorry the rest of the world will miss such a unique individual.

    I’ll never forget meeting him (and you) at the Bencivenga 100. Gary was a lot different (on the outside) than I expected… but his persona, hell I could feel it accross the room. He really poured his mojo into his writing, his conversation, his teaching (which I was blessed to recieve.)

    Right now, I can picture him rabble rousing in the spirit world… teaching them that his folks on earth aren’t in the Marketing Business… they’re in the MATH Business…

    Cheers, Gary.

    Cheers, John.

    Mike Morgan

  • I learned more from Gary than I could possibly
    write down. My life has been forever changed as
    a result of knowing him.

    He was an inspiration and a true friend.

    I’ll miss him terribly.


  • John, a friend like Gary will be waiting for you by heaven’s gates.

    Leonardo da Vinci once remarked, “As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so life well used brings happy death.”

    Those who knew him, know that Gary’s life was, indeed, well used.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and his loved ones during this trying time.

  • Carlos Duran says:

    Dear Friend,

    Sad day… this is the coined phrase for April 8th 2007. The day a living legend stepped into the halls of immortality.

    I could write a phone book sized epic on Gary, I’ve known him for 7 years and lived with him (or very close to him) for 3 of those years…but… the man that has truly breathed Sir Gary of Halbert for over 20 years has said it all. Thank you John.

    You truly are a Free Bird today, Papa Bear.

    All the Best…

  • andy moose says:

    God Bless Gary Halbert.


    All I can think to say is thank you Gary.
    and thank you John, for teaching me (if
    only through your letters) about life,
    laughter and the awesome skill of copy
    and for…

    well, being you.

    My appreciation for Gary and also for you
    is beyond words.

    Thank you, and God bless.

    Andy Moose

  • John,

    My condolences for your loss.

    The Prince of Print is off to a better place…but he sure made this place a better one while he was here didn’t he.

    The “shot heard round the world” part 2.

    You know you are a respected marketer when…
    You pass on and the whole world responds.

    Joseph Ratliff

  • Donna Maher says:

    Dearest John,

    You don’t know me, but you have made me want to know you through the most eloquent, poignant words I have read in years. I am so deeply sorry for your loss, you actually made me cry reading what you wrote about Gary. He definitely was one of a kind, and very talented and special. You made me wish I had known him personally.

    I can only pray that someday I will be privileged to have a friend like you to write my eulogy, and to love me like you loved Gary. He will be missed deeply by so many of us who enjoyed his amazing writing style as well as his wit and wisdom.

    May our Lord give you comfort and may you find closure after your time of grief and loss, while holding on to the cherished memories.

    With much care,

  • The day the copy died.

    Thanks John for sharing such a nice tribute with us about your friend. Gary was a mentor to many of us in ways we do not and may not ever know or truly appreciate.



  • James Yuille says:

    I, too, was deeply saddened to hear of Gary’s passing and I’d like to congratulate John on a very well written piece about a man who had an impact on everyone in marketing. I consider myself fortunate to have been able to read some of his works; unfortunate in that I never achieved my goal of meeting him.

    May his memory stay with us.


  • John Gilvary says:


    My condolonces.

    When I heard about Gary’s passing, I thought about you (and about the many stories, experiences and interactions with Gary).

    The man was a legend.

    The legend will live on through his works… continuing to teach, amuse, and even inspire us all in the marketing world.


  • Sam Knoll says:


    Very eloquently put.

    That was a very beautiful summary of an amazing, unique person who obviously had a huge impact on your life and will always hold a place in your heart.

    Thank you for using your words, as you do so well, to help everyone say goodbye.


    Sam Knoll

  • Eran Malloch says:

    Hi John, all the way down under from Perth, Western Australia.

    Unfortunately, I never did get to meet Gary, but like many, I knew him through his writing, and his irreverent, eminently common sense personality came through LOUD and CLEAR, even this far away!

    It’s a terrible thing when someone close to us is taken away, but obviously his time was up here, and I have no doubt he is now entertaining, educating & creating a ruckus somewhere better – sharing his light with others. There will be smiles around the dinner table tonight when the new “guest speaker” finishes his talk.

    Grieve for your friend John – that’s necessary and healthy – but hold his memory close to your heart and it will comfort you in the years to come. I am sure he would want you to smile when you remember him, as he will when he thinks about you and the friendship you guys obviously had.

    And one day, the 2 of you will meet again and everything will be as it should be.



  • It’s shocking he’s gone, but let’s celebrate his amazing life. Grab a drink and give a hearty toast to SIR GARY HALBERT! You made a huge impact, Gary.


  • Joe Pena says:

    Something needed to be said by a member of Gary’s “family”.

    Thank You.

  • Scott Paton says:

    Hi John

    My prayers are with you.

    Napolean Hill wrote:

    “What you want to be eventually,
    That you must be every day;
    And by and by the quality of your deeds
    Will get down into your soul.”

    I never met Gary, but I read his newsletters, listen to his audios and I think his soul shone thru… brightly, blindingly, brilliantly…forever.


  • -- TW says:

    I am a marketing wanna be.

    Oh I try, alright — but I always know there’s always higher levels to aim for. For me GH was that ‘higher.’ The highEST, in fact.

    Not just the brilliant copy — but the whole persona.

    What he wrote + spoke about came from some higher astral plane. It came directly from “The Source,” it seemed.

    A few days ago (before his death), I posted a link to his latest letter on a board with the subject line: “If God (Himself) gave you a swipe file…”

    As we all know, he was NOT like the others. And we’re all fortunate to have witnessed his walk on this earth, firsthand.

    It’ll be a long, long time before we are ‘sent’ another with his level of instinctive insights + leadership.

    Thank you Gary! — your torch will burn forever. I only hope the world can continue to ‘catch on’ to what you tried to tell us.

    — TW

  • Michelle says:

    John – This is a beautifully written tribute to Gary. Thank you for sharing this with everyone.

  • Don Alm says:

    My first contact with the ol’ “ShitWeasel” was by phone in 1986. I had received one of Gary’d initial sales letters for his newsletter (I STILL have the originals and they are MASTERpieces in Marketing)….I introduced myself as a fellow “Marketing guy” and when I told him that I had sold “Grolier Encyclopedias”, door-to-door, in my college days…he came UNglued….and we spent the next 2 hrs reminiscing about our “Book” experiences and other “Direct Sales Stuff”.

    He TOO had sold encyclopedias door-to-door. In fact, when he told me a Technique he had used to sell books….I KNEW I was listening to MARKETING GREATNESS.

    In the “Book Biz” we were ALL taught to “knock on doors” in the afternoon, getting housewives (most every house, in THOSE DAYS, had a “housewife” at home in the afternoon)….we would get housewives to agree to let us come back in the evening when their hubby was home.

    We’d set an appointment and I (and jillions of other Book Salespeople would show up at the designated appointment time….to sell BOTH, Mom & Pop.

    NOT Gary.

    He would make appointments in the afternoon….and NOT SHOW! With the result being….ONLY THOSE people who were TRULY INTERESTED in learning more about the product….would CALL GARY’S answering machine and ask, “Hey Gary! Where are you? We were EXPECTING YOU this evening and you didn’t show!” Sure…many people who were expecting him and he didn’t show…were highly po’d….but…that was OK…if they didn’t phone Gary’s machine….they weren’t QUALIFIED! (In fact…talk about “injecting EMOTION” into a Sales Situation…some of Gary’s BEST prospects (as he related to me) were the ones who WERE HIGHLY TICKED that he didn’t show BUT…wanted to see him ANYWAY)

    Gary would then call THOSE PEOPLE and ReSet an appointment for the NEXT EVENING. And at THESE APPOINTMENTS….where Gary KNEW they were HIGHLY INTERESTED…he would CLOSE a higher percentage than us “regular grunts” who didn’t “use our noggin to come up with a POWERFUL Marketing Method as Gary had.

    We spoke off and on via phone for the next few yrs and then I met Gary in person at Bill Myer’s Seminar in Hot Springs, AR in 1995. And again, the following year in 1996.

    At one of these seminars he was asked to write a Classified AD for a guy with a new widget…to be placed on the “New” Internet Marketing thingee called “America On”.

    I watched, in awe, as he took the information from the guy….wrote down some notes…and within seconds….came up with an Ad he put on the overhead projector.

    Gary’s “Marketing MIND”was something to behold. We’d be talking on the phone about one of MY projects….and he’d be talking to Theresa (his right hand gal) who had someone else on the phone who he was “instructing” at the same time. His mind would go “a mile-a minute”.

    We did a small “Joint Venture” together back in 1997 and I was constantly AMAZED at his “Creativity” AND….POSITIVENESS about what he was doing. He was FULL of “CONFIDENCE”. I called him the “BALL-BUSTER”. There was no “shyness” about Gary.

    When I was back in Colorado….I watched in utter amazement as he helped a Furniture Store client get thru their predicament and not only survive their situation but THRIVE from it.

    The City of Denver had decided they needed to tear up the street in front of this furniture store….which meant it was almost impossible for customers to get to the store. They hired Gary to write an Ad Campaign. Gary’s full page ads in the Rocky Mountain News were CLASSICS. They were absolutely
    remarkable…AND….they helped this furniture store to THRIVE during this period.

    Gary’s copywriting was LEGENDARY….and a REAL INSPIRATION to me.

    Gary was “bigger than life” in many respects. He’d make a bunch of money
    one day…..and go out and blow it on a boat the next day (The ol’ Sea Hunt from Lloyd Nolan’s TV Show of the same name)…or something else outlandish.

    He sent me a copy of his “Boron Letters” which I scan through now an then. (I think I’ll get them out this eve)

    They truly “broke the mold” when Gary Halbert appeared. He was ONE-OF-A-KIND….an inspiration to me and I’m sorry that I won’t be able to pick up the phone and talk to him….or read some of his latest material.

    Take Care Gary. It was a GAS and a PLEASURE to know you.

    Don Alm
    Roseburg, Oregon

  • Brian Keith Voiles says:

    Thank you John. You are legend — right alongside Gary. I cried like a baby for 15-minutes when I heard that Gary has passed. And have spent most of the day in stunned, teary-eyed silence.

    My prayers and thoughts are with you, John. As well as Gary’s family.


  • Dr.Mani says:

    Like anything else that comes from the heart,
    your tribute to a great copywriter moved me
    deeply, John. I only wish I had been able to
    know Gary Halbert better, so as to appreciate
    the depth of your words even more.

    My heartfelt condolences to you and Gary’s
    friends and fans.


  • Jason Cain says:

    My condolences John.

    As we all know, Gary loved you a lot.


    Jason Cain

  • Fred T says:

    I had the pleasure of meeting Gary Halbert at his Arizona seminar and later at a the Bencivenga seminar and his Miami Fusion seminar. Gary was always willing to step aside and help me with whatever I needed help with and he even gave me material for my swipe file.

    I first learned of Gary years ago from Ted Nicholas’ Self Publishing Seminar. When I got to the tape with Gary on it, I kept rewinding over and over! I had to find out more about this Gary Halbert guy.

    From there I purchased “How to Make Maximim Money In Minimum Time,” and was totally blown away.

    This is a very sad day. He will truly be missed.

  • Dave Zan says:

    Rest in peace, alpha shitweasel. I’ll miss you, but I’ll never, ever forget what you’ve taught.

    Hopefully someone has made arrangements with his domain name and site. I’d hate to see someone else take it and park it, it’d be such a waste.

  • Reed Floren says:

    Thanks Rick.

    RIP Gary.

    Sad day indeed.

  • John,

    You were on my mind when I heard the news and I’m so glad that you posted — I, too, was deeply moved by what you said. You captured the essence of Gary in that post, as only you could… thank you.

    He single handedly changed my life almost 20 years ago… and I only spoke with him a couple times. It was his writing that made me feel I knew him, and that is a legacy that makes him immortal.

    It’s awesome that he had a friendship like yours…


  • Brian Lord says:

    Dear John,

    I thank you for your personal post today after the “death of a legend, best friend and partner”. Like many others your words brought me to tears as well.

    Gary has certainly touched my life too all the way to Australia – in fact before I only realised recently he had touched my family with his family history project in the late 70’s and early 80’s. It was only on attending his Orlando seminar in late 2005 that I really realised the true value and depth of his genius in person.

    RIP Sir “Gary of Halbert”

    Echuca, Australia

  • Pam Gitta says:

    I only “knew” Sir Gary of Halbert through his newsletters, but what newsletters they were. No doubt, the world is a less vivid place without him.

    I’m sorry you lost a good friend. You and his family will be in my prayers.


  • Dear John,

    Thank you so much for being willing to share the intimacy
    of your friendship and experiences with the great Gary Halbert.

    It’s touching and a reminder to stop and reflect…

    …not only upon the memories and experiences shared
    from the legacy left by Gary’s touch but also upon my
    own life at this point…

    Though I never met Gary, I do enjoy the fact that somehow
    I stumbled upon his newsletters and site when I first
    came Online.

    Going through Gary’s ramblings and insights was a
    breath of fresh air in an often overcrowded arena…

    …rough edges and all! 🙂

    Thank you Gary, and goodnight!

    God Bless,
    Jerold Johnson
    Los Angeles, CA

  • […] Gary's best friend John Carlton wrote a fitting post on his blog. […]

  • John,

    Gary Halbert isn’t dead. He’s alive and living it up in a place called Heaven.

    He’s looking down at us all with a smile, a hearty laugh, and he’s probably not thinking about copywriting at the moment… it’s his break time… time out for Gary for once.

    In times like this we can all get emotional and cry… why shouldn’t we… although we should always reflect on how talented, brilliant and sharing the gentleman was… that was Gary.

    My thoughts are with you and his family John!

    God bless you all,

    David Cavanagh

  • Bob Choat says:


    This is a wonderful tribute to a man who affected many in the direct marketing field and even in advertising in general. As a student and teacher in the psychology of persuasion, Gary stood out amongst his peers. His words moved one to take action and he did it from such a simple use of them. He knew how to get into the psyche of the reader. Thanks for letting us share our thoughts and your posting.


  • John,

    A sad day today.

    My thoughts and prayers are with Gary’s family and friends.

    Thank you John for sharing your feelings with us on a very diffcult day.

    Warmest Regards,

    Keith Goodrum

  • Every person alive today making a living in any way, shape or form in direct marketing owes an eternal THANK YOU to the most generous soul dm has ever known — Gary Halbert.

    I know I definitely do… Gary’s contribution to all of us in direct marketing and millions beyond is incalculable.

    The world today definitely feels a little colder…

    Thank you John for your heartfelt and fitting tribute.

    Kelvin Parker

  • Scott Ames says:

    Halbertism #56

    Friday, July 9, 2004

    “It always looks darkest… just before… everything goes totally black!”

    Stop being so fucking cheerful. Everything IS going to go bad… so… you may as well accept it.

    Hell, if history is any guide, ain’t none of us gonna get out of this alive

    -Gary Halbert

  • Scott Ames says:

    Sorry John, I intended to edit Gary’s comment before posting it.

  • -- TW says:

    Now he’s somewhere WAY north of Jewfish Creek.

    Here’s to Mr. Halbert!

    — TW

  • Tina Lorenz says:

    Hi John,
    Thanks so much for sharing this fitting tribute to
    a true legend. You were the first person Ron and I
    thought of when we heard of Gary’s passing this morning.
    Some of our most memorable times at seminars have
    been listening to your stories about your adventures
    with Gary. We laughed till we cried.

    And I think that’s how Gary would want it even now.

    Whether in this world or the next, Gary will
    always be one of a kind. But you already know that.

    Ron and I wish you peace and comfort during
    this sad time. We’re glad you have the solace of
    Gary’s family.

    All good wishes,
    Tina and Ron

  • Andrew says:

    Hi John,

    My sincerest condolences. I never personally met Gary, but I kick myself for not taking him up on the personal mentoring when I had the money and time to do it. Damn. I always thought I would get along “just fine” with that guy.

    A better and more fitting thing to say, if I actually knew the guy would be, “Gary, I knew him well. When he would eat, dogs would come from far and wide to scrounge the scraps that fell from his mouth.” And they would be all the richer for it.

    This is a day that should be marked on every copywriters calendar to pay homage to a guy we all received so much from. If not directly and in person, then through the trail that he so courageously blazed that we might all learn from his trial and tribulations. If it weren’t for him, would there have been a character known as “John Carlton” or “Dan Kennedy?” Or any number of other writers who have continually quoted him for years (myself included).

    I say I’ve read everyone of his newsletters and I mean it. In fact, I’m going to read them all again starting tomorrow. And I won’t stop until I’m done. Damn it!

    I think I may have said enough and maybe said too much. But, hell, it will never be enough to make up for what Gary taught us all. Life is meant to be lived maximum overdrive with the pedal to the metal. I intend to contiue to do just that and slide into home ridin’ hard and put-away wet. Yee-ha!!!!

    Give ’em hell, Gary!


  • To John and Gary Loved Ones.

    Gary was bigger than life to me! HE inspired me 6 years ago.
    I devoured EVERY letter he had written on his site and even
    printed them out.

    I am deeply saddened. I had dreamed one day to meet him in

    He is not dead but has moved on. He lives in each of us. His
    stories we will tell. His letters we will read.

    Rest In Peace Gary Halbert! Mission Accomplished. The World
    IS a better place from the works and words of wisdom you leave
    within us.

    Peace Brutha!


  • Olan Butler says:

    My prayers are for you and the Halbert family. I must say that my heart is heavy also. Although meeting him only through his writings and audios, I can feel the “suck” out of atmosphere.

    If you both know the Lord, you will definitely see him again. That is Christ’s promise to us all.

    Gary will definitely be missed.

    The preacher that loved the man “North of Jewfish Creek”.

  • John, we’ve all lost a great friend. I know for you it was personal; for me, I wouldn’t be here today as I am without some key things Gary did that I benefited from. The Internet (outside of porn and cataloguers) might never have become as profitable as soon as it did without Gary’s influence. There’s so much more to say… I felt like I was hit by a giant medicine ball right in the gut when I found out this morning. Thank you for an eloquent screed.

  • Brett McFall says:

    Way to go John.

    I met Gary at his copywriting seminar in Phoenix Arizona in 2002. I flew 15 hours to be there. I took 20 pages of notes. Battled jetlag to stay awake for every moment. Laughed my balls off. And loved every second of it.

    Since then I have told anyone who would listen, that Gary was the king of copywriting.

    I phoned him beforehand too. And he told me I’d be “an asshole if I didn’t become a millionaire because of what he was going to teach.”

    Right he was.

    I truly would not be where I am today without the wisdom of Gary Halbert. His teachings literally changed my copywriting … and my future … forever.

    I can only hope that some day my copy will even be half as compelling, witty, and cut-through as that of the master.

    A damn sad day indeed.

    Thanks Gary, so much. And John keep carrying the flag bud.

    Brett McFall

  • DK Fynn says:

    I send my condolences to everyone during this sad time.

    There’s a saying that says that it’s “better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”

    You see, I was looking forward to meeting Gary and working with him, but for me, that never happened, so for those people who have, I say that you are privilaged.

    Yes, you–we–have all lose a friend, but it was great to have known him.

    You know what? I don’t know if it’s true all the time, but there’s a general saying that a person is not really appreciated until after they leave.

    Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m sure a lot of you have appreciated Gary before this happened, but what I’m saying is that the amount of attention a person, and their work, receives after they pass on, overshadows the adulation that person received when they were around.

    Well, I was never privilaged enough to have met the man. But at least I’ve heard him on the BoostMyResponse audios and read a little bit of his stuff on

    I’d better go to that site now, and learn something new.

  • Please tell me it’s not true!

    Tell me it was a mistaken identity!

    Tell me that our beloved Gary Halbert is still alive!

    Oh no, the Master Copy Writer is gone. How sorely
    I will miss him!

    Gary was one of the truly great copy writers who fired up
    my interest in copy writing and sustained my passion
    for the art.

    He may be gone but I’ll never forget what he taught me
    and his memory shall remain evergreen to me.

    Rest in perfect peace, Gary!

  • […] want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!I was sad to find out from John Carlton that Gary Halbert died on Sunday. Although I never met him, I felt I knew him somewhat from reading the letters on his web site, and […]

  • Luiggi says:

    Just reading (and applying) the free letters of Gary Halbert five years ago, allowed me raise myself from poverty to having today a lot of material goods -new house with no mortgage, brand new luxury car, bank accounts, brokerage account, etc-. Also his writing show me that sharing brings to you even more.
    Thank you Gary!

    God Bless Sir Gary of Halbert!

  • Dearly Beloved John:

    Just one more sentence from me:

    “This is an irreparable loss!”.

    Olakunle Solomon Fatoye.

  • Thanks for your warm post about your close friend John. I really took it hard, because I just knew one day I’d meet him. It was an honest goal of mine, and my wife was even shocked when I told her, as she has heard me talk about him and watch his DVD for hours, over and over again.

    I can only imagine how hard it is for you, as you were so close.

    I can already hear newbie copywriters, years from now, talking about the legend Sir Halbert. I’m sure you’ll smile, knowing Halbert is probably cracking some joke about the poor newbies from beyond.

    I just wish I would have been able to meet him.

    Eric Louviere

  • Stephan says:

    Dearest John,

    Thank you John. Thank you for your words. Thanks for sharing your feelings. Thanks for being Gary’s friend. Thank you for sharing this with everyone. Thank you John. Thank you so much.

    My thoughts are with you, Gary, and his family.

    Thank you Gary! Thanks for teaching me. Thanks for amuzing me. Thanks for inspiring me. Thanks for your generosity. You ARE a mentor for me in more ways than you can imagine. Your torch will burn forever, and inspire many generations to come. Thank you Gary! Thank you so much.

    Stephan Nijhof

  • Al Hulaton says:

    I owe a good part of my career to you. Rest easy, Gary.


  • […] Edit: Read the post of one of his closest friends and partner John Carlton […]

  • Tim Warnock says:

    Thank you John, that was beautifully written.

    Your heartfelt description of your friendship with Gary, and now, the pain of your separation left me with a knot in my heart, and tears in my eyes.

    I read your post over 12 hours ago, but couldn’t bring myself to write then.

    Now, I felt to share a part of an appreciation email I wrote to Gary over 2 years ago…

    “…What I’m trying to say is there is a quality in your writing that is extremely rare – apart your wonderful marketing lessons – what I feel from your writing is an open heart – honesty – transparency… it’s real.

    I feel like this is closer to “God” than the vast majority of those in the cloth – because it is real – it’s life, and you express this Life so well.”

    I feel that you share this same quality John. It’s not surprising that you two were so close.

    My deepest sympathies,

    Tim Warnock

  • Stuart Tan says:


    I watched you on the Big Seminar DVDs. I’ve never met Gary and only heard about him briefly. But as with all marketers, someone of his phenomenal distinction must have been creating waves, and I’m sad that I wasn’t a part of it early enough.

    My condolences to you and Gary’s family. It’s a sad moment for internet marketing. Just remember we’ll all pass one day, and based on what I see here, Gary’s definitely left a legacy for everyone to envy, admire and continue to emulate.


  • […] read this off John Carlton’s blog and I thought everyone here should see how an internet marketer’s passing affects the […]

  • Anh Johnson says:

    John & All,

    Thanks for sharing so eloquently.

    I can only imagine the times you had with Gary and the friendship that led to all the beautiful letters.

    Gary will continue to inspire and so are you.

    The world has really lost a “great” person. I feel like Marketing lost part of its Soul.

    Moving forward, Gary is in a good place and again, thank you for sharing your life, his life.

    My sincere condolences to the Halbert family and all,

    Anh Drew Johnson

  • Andy Havens says:


    I’m sorry for your loss – for all our loss. Some men become closer than a brother. I believe this begins to describe your relationship with Gary. If I had to hear the news from anyone, I’d rather hear it from you.

    Gary will be missed by many and that says much about him. At least Gary LIVED. That’s much more than can be said of many. He also touched so many people – my own included.

    Those fortunate enough to meet him and those even more blessed to know him are just the tip of the iceburg. There are hordes of people like myself who never had either priviledge but were still deeply influenced by his work.

    Gary shared so much of his knowledge and his heart with so many. My impression is he was even more generous in person. He will be remembered by many of us for years to come. I know I will remember him.

    Thank you Gary. And thank you John.

    God bless,


  • Tina says:

    I’m in Tears

    Gary inspired people to want and to be more

    and I only wish I had something more worthy to say
    thank you for your post John

    I have read Gary’s letters for years only wish I had taken the opportunity to know Gary and so glad that he shared his soul with you John.
    You know he wants you to laugh though it is not at this moment easily done for even myself.

    the man definitely had a hold and connection to us all in this universe. I feel it ever so strong.
    What a spirit!

    tina and baby Fern

  • D Dean Hall says:

    A Sad day

    Will mourn the loss but forever respect the talent

  • D Dean Hall says:

    A Sad Day

    Will mourn the loss of the man – Will forever respect the talent

  • George Ritacco says:


    I’m not sure, but I’ll bet Gary is looking down at you and very thankful that he had you as a friend.

    Well said and heartfelt.

    He was one of the best, a true master and I’ve learned so much from the both of you.

  • Mr. Carlton…

    With great respect I say, your letter can be deeply “felt” by us all.

    Well said,” This is a rip in the tender fabric of the universe.”

    Like Pam, My prayers are with you, your family and Gary’s.

    David Cavanaugh said it well, He is alive in so many people. Yourself, Kilstein and Craig Garber, specifically come to mind.

    Myself, I found it hard to get past his persona, His brilliance, however I couldn’t pass by.

    That freakin Water letter is soooo rich! Among other things he uses so much, of what I call ,Indirect Persuasion. Unreal!

    We all should write out that letter by hand, many, many times.

    Could be the best tribute we could pay…

    To engrain a little more of him in us all.

    Thank-you Gary for paving such a wide path!


    The water letter and Garys line-by-line explanation are here…

  • John Calma says:

    I can’t believe it.

  • […] I got an email this morning from John Carlton’s subscribers list titled, “Its John Carlton about Gary Halbert.” The first sentence, “We’ve lost one of the great men in advertising today.” You can read more on John’ blog. […]

  • Dave Allard says:


    Here is to hearing more than one one-sided telephone conversation between Sir Gary of Halbert, you and others.

    From his high-rise Miami apartment it was evident to me that the Prince of Pen was never more joyous than when speaking to you, never more caring than when speaking to his son Bond, never more concerned than when speaking about his son Jeff and never more comfortable than when dictating and/or editing a letter or parts of it to his trusty Assistant Theresa.

    His words were spoken as he thought them . They were written as he spoke them .

    He was genuine. He was compassionate. And he was proud to be a man.

    Working with him, learning from him , and participating in his daily schedule January-February 2004 taught me he also appreciated being able to teach.

    And he appreciated his listeners taking action .

    His family may hopefully take consolation in the concern he draws now from others who are again looking in on a friend.



  • Tim Schaefer says:


    My sympathies to you, the Halbert clan and all that were fortunate enough to have shared a memory with Gary.

    I haven’t been on the scene for very long. And in that short time I have become a disciple of Gary’s genius and attitude. Reading his newsletters, handwriting his ads and listening to any recording I could scrape up… just phenomenal.

    Yesterday I buried a man who was practically my grandfather, practically my family. I learned of Gary’s passing that morning and my heart sunk even further.

    On the way to the funeral I listened to an interview he did with Michel Fortin… I smiled, I reflected and I realized the impact this man, who I never knew, has had on my career, my abilities and my determination.

    Thank you John for such a touching post. May he rest in peace.


  • » Gary Halbert: 1938-2007 & Our Journey-Home says:

    […] be referring you to two of Gary’s closest friends John Carlton and Michel Fortin for the details of what Gary represented, and his website so you can see for […]

  • Cathy says:

    I am so sorry for your loss, John. Several years ago Gary mentioned me in one of his Halbert Letters. More than anything else, that mention was responsible for me finding one of my dearest friends – or I should say, one of my dearest friends finding me!

    Gary touched my life in a way I’m sure he never knew. I’ll never forget him.


  • Matt Gallant says:

    Hey John,

    Thanks for sharing your emotions in this tough time.

    You and Gary have given the direct marketing world
    unforgettable value over the years that has changed
    how marketers think and operate.

    God bless Gary’s soul…

  • Ted Ciuba says:

    John, your using the Elvis motif is really right on…

    “The king is dead! Long live the king!”

    Their positions will never be challenged, as they both contributed fa-a-ar beyond even the grasp of an ordinary mortal…

    Gary and Elvis, in a world of humans, left tracks of a giant.

    By their contributions, it’s easy to see, to quote Thoreau, they live with the “license of a higher order of beings.”

    Like Elvis, Gary Halbert may be gone, but he will not fade away.

    May he rest in peace as the new stage of his journey begins.

  • Jack Bastide says:


    I didn’t know Gary personally but …

    I remember One time I had emailed Gary
    a question about one of his Newsletters

    5 minutes goes by, my phone rings and
    its Gary Halbert

    he also responded to a few of my emails

    In this day and age of Help Desks and
    all that other crap its nice to see
    an Approachable “Guru”

    RIP Gary …

    Jack Bastide

  • Lisa Manyon says:


    You weren’t been able to make me cry during the hot seats at Lo’s event last year. But you’ve certainly done it now.



  • Norman Cooke says:

    John: I want to let you know I share your grief.

    I first met Gary (and John) around 1986 (long before the WWW) at their office in Los Angeles when we recorded their seminars and reproduced cassettes for them at my company (Abbey Tape Duplicators Inc). Working with them was a pleasure and a privilege.

    My wife and I along with two New York friends dropped in on Gary (and Paulette) on the Florida keys in 1990. He wanted to take us out on his Sea Hunt boat which he was very proud of, but we didn’t have the time. He was a delightful host.

    Gary was famous for his “in your face” comments. We will miss them, and the WORLD will miss him.


  • Heidi Perry says:

    Strange coincidence? Gary Halbert passed away in his sleep on April 8, 2007. P.T. Barnum died on April 7 1891 in his sleep.

    Do you wonder what kinds of amazing things those two are collaborting on right now?

    Gary taught me more about copywriting than all other copywriters and courses combined.

    He’s gone. Damn!


  • What Jimi Hendrix was to the Fender Stratocaster,
    Gary Halbert was to the Bic pen.

    Thank you Gary for kicking me in the ass and changing
    my life.

    And thank you John for being you. Gary and yourself have
    both done wonders for my life and family.

  • Ryan Healy says:


    Such a beautiful tribute to Gary.

    Thank you.


  • Caleb says:


    After I talked to Doberman Dan on the phone and got the shocking news that Gary Halbert was dead… I almost asked, “THE Gary Halbert?”

    I was in disbelief and I thought many times to your post about learning from the legends of advertising like Gary because they just weren’t going to be around very long… even though… you figured that shitweasel would outlive us all.

    I owe Gary a lot – he first recognized my talent and helped me kick off my copywriting career… and that has changed my life.

    I’m glad you can focus on the good times.

    Caleb Osborne

  • Tribute to Gary Halbert…

    As you may already know, Gary Halbert passed away on Easter Sunday, April 8, 2007. I never had the privilege of knowing him personally. The closest I ever got was sitting directly in front of him at System Seminar 2003,…

  • […] be referring you to two of Gary’s closest friends John Carlton and Michel Fortin for the details of what Gary represented, and his website so you can see for […]

  • Kyle says:

    Gary Halbert was to marketing what Steve Irwin was to wild life. Pure, raw enthusiasm and lovable as they come. Two people I wish I’d have had the chance to thank for their positive impact on my life… before their ride on this merry-go-round of earth was over.

    May your smiles above be filled with sunshine Gary. As well to you John, and the rest of his close family and friends.

    -kyle tiernan

  • Joe Trevison says:

    I hope we meet in the other place. I never talked to him but had email from him. And have his boron letters and the other book of his newsletters and some of his great seminars.What a great man who was the greatest copywriter of are time. Those ads are now classic and he is classic. And has John said he has now left the building.

  • John,

    I got the news late, today, the 11th and the first thing I thought of was, “Poor John Carleton.”

    There is no possible way I can sum up what Gary’s genius did for me, personally.

    I can think back to when I was first starting out in business and I was fortunate enough to stumble on a full page ad in the classifieds section of the LA Times, proclaiming:

    How To Make Maximum Money In Minimum Time!

    That was my first magical exposure to Gary’s genius and his writing style has totally influenced me in every possible way.

    The man knew how to write the way Ali knew how to throw a jab, the way Babe Ruth could hit a home run or Tiger Woods swing a golf club.

    Later I had the privilege to meet Gary; he became something of a closet fan and we had some very funny discussions about his love life and about women-that was alot of bull-women loved the guy.

    I just cannot grasp how someone so much larger than life could be gone.

    I will never be able to calculate or sum what his genius has done for me. No way. No how.

    I’m lucky I got to meet him on several occasions


    ….You Are Deeply Missed And Greatly Loved



    P.S. Every Cedric and Buckwheat who ever lived is honored to have had you invoke their name!

  • BrettFromTibet says:

    Farewell Gary…!

    You were quite a character! Thanks for rocking it so hard and putting some guts and chutzpah into DM. Rest in peace!

  • […] see the impact of this loss, visit John Carlton’s blog post “For Gary“ Tags:coat of arms, copywriters, copywriting, gary halbert, gary halbert death, john […]

  • John says:

    Gary Halbert, more so than most, lived life on his own terms – and that is truly living life. And he commanded words, ideas, and emotion like few before him or since.

    To Gary, Forever North of Jewfish Creek…rest well.


  • John,

    Thank you so much for sharing your very moving tribute to Gary.
    I am deeply sorry for the loss of your true friend.


  • John,

    Thank you so much for sharing your very moving tribute to Gary.
    I am deeply sorry for the loss of your true friend.


  • John,

    Thank you so much for sharing your very moving tribute to Gary.
    I am deeply sorry for the loss of your true friend.


  • Jason Jackman says:


    Peace to you in these sad moments.

    With you, Gary was (and still will be!) my copywriting mentor and inspiration. I was fortunate to meet him twice (and be ripped to pieces for being english in the process) but he was a sincere, heartfelt, generous, marketing genius.

    Like you, when he wrote you felt his words…he could of been sitting there right in front of you. And that my friends is a true gift.

    One night I was sitting at my desk in gloomy rainy London when the phone rang…and a friendly voice announced ‘hi, this is gary calling form Miami (for a moment I thought who the F**k is Gary from Miami?). Gary, Gary Halbert…..

    ‘Your joking?’ I replied..

    Talk about make my month! I spoke with Gary for just over an hour and he dictated for me a sales letter that I have used on numerous occasions ever since. No charge, no favours….just a truly generous man with a gift. He also gave me a ton of great tips and for that I am forever grateful.

    Gary, you will be truly missed you’ve touched many people and for that may you continue your journey in peace.

    Peace and love to Gary’s family, and to you John.


  • Thanks John for a touching, heartfelt and informative tribute to Gary C. Halbert.

    When I think of direct response mentors Gary’s name is always in the top three positions.

    I read every word of his “How To Make Maximum Money in Minimum Time”, “The Boron Letters” and as many of his newsletter issues as I could find… not to mention dozens of his direct response sales letters and full page ads.

    He has been a tremendous teacher.

    A few years ago I created a table of contents and an extensive index to complement my copy of the Boron Letters.

    When I approached Gary (via email) that I wanted to give him the disc containining the file of the table of contents and index (for his use should he ever desire to re-release an expanded and improved version of The Boron Letters) he sent me the following missive:

    “You are hereby notified you absolutely, positively do NOT have the rights to change, whether to add or delete, anything to or from my Boron Letters… This is NOT a joke. I take my writing VERY SERIOUSLY and will do everything within my powers (including legally) to protect my rights.


    “Obviously, I’ve seen an attorney about this matter.


    “Gary C. Halbert”

    Of course I had and have no intention to violate anyone’s copyrighted material and immediately erased the disc but to this day I refuse to delete Gary’s email message from my email stack…. like everythink he did… it’s a classic.


    Gerard LeBlond

  • Col says:

    Well said John.

    Gary Halbert. That name alone, to me at least, immediately conjures up one word…


    I could have said, successful, brilliant or any number of words before it, but hey, this post would go on and on….

    Now I ain’t one who believes about going to Heaven or wherever, but I do know that if there is such a place then,

    Gary will be telling them how better to spread their word!

    A toast people, to Sir Gary of Halbert!



  • Phill Lambert Of New Zealand says:

    My heart isswollen within me – I mourn your loss Gary though I have never met you.

    Just one idea from your letters help me get a copywriting deal worth $5000 plus royalties.

    You have left a gaping casm and and a unfillable void in the driect repsonse marketing world.

    We will continue to be in awe.

    Phill of New Zealand

  • Rod says:

    Somewhere North of Jewfish Creek lies an eternal spark of creativity, genius, hilarity, and compassion.

    To those who embrace the journal there, will bestow a gift they shall always treasure.

    Thank you, Gary. RIP


  • A Copywriting Legend Left Us This Week » Graham English Consulting says:

    […] I won’t say much because I didn’t know him. But I knew his legend. His good friend and world-class copywriter, John Carlton, says it best. […]

  • Frank Kern says:

    I remember the first time I met him in 2003. I was scared shitless. All that was going through my head was, “I hope I don’t do or say anything stupid”.

    The last time I saw Gary was when he came and hung out with Ed Dale and I at our San Diego conference in the fall. This was 3 years after having met him for the first time.

    Gary dropped by Ed’s hotel room where we were hanging out playing ukuleles and having some drinks.

    Even though I’d been around him plenty of times by then, the first thing that popped into my head was, “I hope I don’t do or say anything stupid.”

    The guy had such an incredible presence. All he had to do was walk in and sit down and the entire dynamic of the room would change.

    Hell, Gary could talk about something as mundane as shoelaces or paperclips and it would *still* sound cool.

    He’ll be missed.

    Thanks, Gary for paving the way for us.

  • Troy Laughren says:

    Great Post John…

    My condolences to You, Gary’s family and all that new him personally – He will be sorrily Missed 🙁

    Cheers to you Sir Gary of Halbert! Because of You my life is better… Rest In Peace!

    Troy Laughren

  • Patrick Wahl says:

    Dear John,

    Gary Halbert will live forever because of his prolific, provocative, and profound writing. I had the privilege of spending a great deal of time with him when we were both involved with a certain dental seminar. He had a huge effect not just on my business, but on my life. Marketing lost a giant, but Gary Halbert will never be forgotten. He was indeed larger than life, and his spirit is very much alive.

    Thank you Gary — you could play the English language with as much style as John Carlton can play the guitar! What a gift to have known you.

    Patrick Wahl

  • Mattg says:

    Gone, but never forgotten.

    Gary shared so much with so many, he will live on through what he showed us all of what life has to offer.


  • Pamela Matsumoto says:

    Dear John,

    I am so very sorry for your loss of a lifefriend. I know the feeling of being punched in the gut and having part of your heart pulled out. There are no words I can muster that will make the loss ease quickly. Just a wish for you and his family find some comfort in the knowledge that there are many who mourn with you. We were lucky to have him for the time we did and that he shared himself so generously in his own brilliantly maddening way. He was lucky to have so devoted a friend as you.

    Thank you John, for reaching through your shock and pain to share with us the Gary you knew. God bless.

  • Steve Morsa says:

    …Gary Halbert…a giant who always lived…a maximum life in minimum time…

  • Martin Lee says:

    Hi John,

    Thanks for writing this tribute and helping to put things together. I owe Gary one.


    Martin Lee

  • Debra Arko says:

    I saw speak Gary and had an opportunity to speak with him at my first Internet seminar and the journey began. . . .

    Thank you Gary for your inspiration and passion.


  • Bob says:

    Having just heard about this, all I can say is…

    I never met you.

    I have not used your materials THUS FAR.

    I now mourn the loss of both.

    Today you taught me how important everyday is.

    I wish you were here so I could tell you that.

    My best goes out to you and your family.

    With sadness, appreciation, love and respect…

    I remain
    (a now remorseful)

  • John,

    News of Gary’s death hit me like a brick in the head.
    My stomach had that hollow, sinking feeling, the type
    you get when something shocking hits your system.

    Ever since the news reached me that horrible day, I’ve
    not stopped thinking about Gary.

    Howcome I felt like this for a man I met, oh so

    You see, if there was one person who was instrumental
    in me wanting to learn how to become a good
    copywriter, it was Gary.

    I mean, his newsletters just mesmerised me. They set
    fire to my mind! And yes, I really did pick up a ton
    of valuable information from Gary’s marvellous

    And, honestly speaking, I’ll be going back to revisit
    Gary’s practical and zany wisdom contained in those
    now even more valuable, newsletters.

    I met with Gary in an eventful copywriting seminar in
    Phoenix, Dec 2002, as well as meeting you, John.

    I was so looking forward to meeting him that I made up
    some cock and bull story at the office in order for me
    to get the time off to be there.

    I remember calling Gary’s then secretary and right
    hand person, Theresa, and asking her if there was
    anyone who was interested in a room share.

    Lo and behold, I ended sharing a room with the nephew
    of Gary’s girlfriend, Sirian!

    I got to know a little more of the legend at that
    Phoenix seminar than I could have ever dreamed.

    I’ll remember fondly, sitting in Gary’s hotel room
    during one of the seminar breaks. All Gary’s entourage
    were flailing all around the place.

    Gary, both legs up on couch, eyes tired, told me to
    come and sit near him, where, like a sweet dear uncle,
    he leaned over and whispered a copywriting gem which
    I’ll hold even more dearly to my heart now.

    As strange as it now sounds, I’m so thrilled I managed
    to get a couple of pictures snapped with Gary at that
    seminar. One’s been pinned to my library wall since
    the time after the seminar. I’ll treasure them till
    I’m no longer here.

    Although brief, I’m honored I managed to touch base
    with a legend, a genius and one heck of a nice man —
    Gary Halbert.

    Thank you for sharing your practical wisdom Gary.
    You’ll be missed, badly.

    From your London copywriting fan,

    Raja C. Hireker

    P.S. Even 11 days on from that painful day, I’m pouring through all the newsletters, sales letters and every single bit of material I have of Gary’s. And do you know what… ‘there really is… true gold in them there material!’

  • John,

    Thank you for this.

    I am sure Gary appreciates your heartfelt words.

    Perhaps he’s enjoying a peanut butter and banana sandwich with the King as we speak…

    He will be missed.


  • Jose says:

    It’s a shame that Gary doesn’t even have a wikipedia page, while that charlatan Hershell Gordon Lewis has a page.

    How about it? Someone who knows Gary personally putting up a wikipedia page? Millions know him from his beloved newsletter, or copies of his work. Hundreds know him from his seminars over the years.

    But only a few know Gary.

    How about a basic wikipedia article, John? It can grow from there. The world outside of the direct marketing/internet marketing business deserves to know about the genius that was Gary. It can include links to his ads & letter. A list of some of the products he worked on. A section on the genius of his Coat of Arms letter.

  • The cold shadow of grief over Gary Halbert has crept and reached the Philippines. John, I read every word of your tribute to Gary and I agree as I have bought and read his books.

    I have treasured the widom of his writings.

    Now I know why you also write with your style. Birds of the same feather flock together.

    I hope I can buy your Kick-Ass copywriting course soon.

    P.S. On second thought, where will you spend eternity?

    Your body will die but your soul will not.

    Will you spend eternity forever with God. Or forever separated from God?

    If you want to know and be sure. I have a gift for you at

    This is not an ad or commercial but honest-to-goodness and God-bless-your-soul-brother ebook.

  • JAMES says:


  • steve says:

    The levy is dry..

  • Kit Weathers says:

    Hi John,

    Your Elvis analagy for Gary is definitely right on… He loved rock and roll music, and I remember the time he proudly showed me his new, “green bullet” Shure microphone… he thought it would make him an authentic blues harmonica player…

    Gary’s real musical talent, however, was the way he made ad copy sing… He was a verbal virtuoso, and like Elvis, his “music” will live forever…

    Kit Weathers

  • Gerald McCarthy says:

    Hello Sir Gary, wherever you are!

    Old friend, the world has been a much better place with you in it. You did make a HUGE “difference” in the lives of so many…

    …and particularly, in the life of yours truly.

    Thank you for that. And thank you so much for having been “you”. Our frequent, mutual phone call visits over the last ten years will be greatly missed!

    –Gerald McCarthy

  • A fitting tribute…

    Just wishing the family much strength…

  • Gary, you and I were supposed to partner-up together this Spring.

    I asked if you would be interested in creating a national ad campaign for my millionaire matchmaking business. You wrote back to me and said, “I feel VERY confident that NOBODY could market this particular “product” as well as I could.”

    I believe you were right. That’s why I only wanted to hire you in the first place.

    Yes, you fit my demographic to a tee, as you liked to remind me. You truly would have got into my prospective customers’ mind—single, affluent men searching for a beautiful soul mate in life, just like you found with Sirian.

    As a woman myself, I can’t possibly think like a man. Not really, anyway. So yes, you would have been perfect for this job.

    I’m kicking myself I didn’t cement our future partnership in January, particularly after our lengthy phone conversations. You were jazzed and ready to go! I told you I needed to work on some back-end stuff first. Why? Because I just KNEW there would be a flood of new clients after you finished your masterpiece.

    I also wanted to meet you in person and extended an invitation for you to fly to the Pacific Northwest.

    Funny thing is, while you graciously declined, you were honest enough to say, “I hate Seattle.”

    You said you wouldn’t fly there again under any circumstances…something about “all that rain and ungodly long flight.” Gary, today it’s sunny and gorgeous in Seattle and in the high 60’s. It really does stop raining in Seattle at least six months of the year…lol.

    As far as the ungodly long flight?

    Yep, some things will never change, Gary. I heard you loud and clear.

    If you recall, while you were telling me how much you hate Seattle, I told you I felt the same about Miami. You didn’t miss a beat and said you hated Florida, too (its weather in particular)…we had a chuckle over that one.

    While we didn’t have the chance to meet before your untimely death, I have to say our phone conversations were always over-the-top.

    Gary, you didn’t disappoint!

    You were rude, charming, blunt, funny, intimidating, direct to a fault, generous and warm all at the same time. Brilliant, all of the time.

    I will miss your brilliance.

    While checking flights from Seattle to Miami the other day, this is when I learned about your death. I have to say, I was ticked off. I mean the timing of it all–right when I was finally ready to meet up with Sir Gary Halbert. How dare he die, I thought.

    I immediately looked UPWARD and said, “Hey, Gary, you can’t die on me now, I need you! ” I was incredulous. “No way can Gary be gone,” I kept repeating.

    Yes, Gary, you left the building and thousands of us mourn your loss. I’m choosing, however, to also celebrate your “bigger than life” personality.

    I take delight in our past phone conversations. As few as they were–your generosity of time, content and spirit will always be remembered.

    Thank you for allowing me to pick your brain, while you picked mine. And thank you for being comfortable enough to share some pretty zany stuff with me. You were more surprised about that than I.

    No worries. I like zany!

    One last favor.

    While you’re in Heaven (you are in Heaven, right?), will you send down an angel copywriter who can really put themselves in my clients shoes?

    Darn it, Gary, you weren’t supposed to die. You were immortal, remember?

    Written with affection and admiration,


    P.S. Gary, I know SOMEWHERE on earth or above you ARE reading this!

  • Brett Gartner says:

    Dear John,

    Thank-you for your honest Words.

    To someone like me Gary was a living legend, a man who’s values , marketing genius and integrity shone through every Newsletter he posted to the web. He sparked an interest in me which is ever growing and all consuming.

    What also shone through is how much he respected you, another copywriting legend, and the close friendship you shared.

    This post sent tears streaming down my face. Yet, I had only breifly met and conversed with Gary and yourself at the Fusion Seminar in Miami 2005.

    To know the joy, laughter and rich friendship that you and Gary shared trhough your post epitomises what every human in this world can long for in relation to another.

    I do not know Gary’s family but feel I know a little about you through the thoughts, ideas and advice you share through this blog. I wanted to write to you to express my deepest condolences for your loss.

    May the memory of your friend live on – close to your heart, and provide a sense of comfort and joy during difficult times you may face. I know there is no salve for the deep wound that remains from the loss of someone you loved.

    Know that within the readers and followers of Gary’s work, like myself, the honest and heartfelt words you shared have shown Gary to be more than “The Prince of Print” and a “Marketing Guru” – but that of a deeply cherished friend and confidant.

    This, I believe transcends all of his accomplishments in the marketing world – if only we could all experience the richness of a friend like the one you described.


    Brett Gartner
    Melbourne, Australia

  • SHOCKED that my GREATEST teacher is gone. Gary was a genius in writing and getting his point across. Gary was the smartest marketing person I personally know. It’s a great lost to his family and people like me who put to use ideas and marketing programs.

    Rich Burnette
    Ringgold, GA

    Here is a SIMPLE SIGN he designed for me. I hung one up on a telephone pole and in less than one month got over 60 calls until the power company took it down. Built my business fast.


  • Thanks for everything Gary! R.I.P. my friend, wherever you are!

  • Thanks for everything Gary! R.I.P. my friend, wherever you are!

  • Thanks for everything Gary! R.I.P. my friend, wherever you are!

  • Jim says:

    Hi John,

    Thanks for your great post over at the Gary Halbert Letter site.

    Gary is missed even by those of us who weren’t lucky enough to be within spitting distance to hear him – I’m over in the Uk and didn’t get into Marketing until quite late – I’m better now though.

    So thanks again and thanks too to Kevin and Bond for enhancing their father’s reputation as well.


  • […] know him. But I knew his legend. His good friend and world-class copywriter, John Carlton, says it best. SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: “A Copywriting Legend Left Us This Week”, url: […]

  • Jason Parker says:


    Nobody knows me or would recognize my face anywhere…

    I found out who your best friend was just a couple months ago. I’ve been listening to teleseminars with Michael Fortin, you, and Gary Halbert. They’re phenomenal.

    I’m like Johnny 5 on that crappy 80s movie Short Circuit. Input.. Input…

    Anyway, I just wanted to drop a line and say I’m sorry to hear about your loss. Gary seemed like the best company anyone could have.

  • Sphinn Moderation An Insult To Gary Halbert | Andy Beard - Niche Marketing says:

    […] know Alex Goad reasonably well, and I am sure it hasn't escaped him that Gary Halbert passed away almost exactly a year ago. Sunday April 8th 2007. I first heard about it from Michel Fortin. I am […]

  • […] Gary passed away in sleep on Sunday night, according to John Calrton. […]

  • i have never in my liofe heard of a character so enthusiastic and so remembered ,it nhas been about a yearvto the death of the great “Gary “and to forget a man like him is impossible ………………….for he deserves the crowns of kings and the rings of jewellers ……i continue to mourn

    chris nkwonta .

  • Jimbo says:

    Hey, where’s my post?

  • Jack Causevic says:

    I’m listening to Gary Halbert tapes right now…
    R.I.P Gary Halbert.

  • Jim Vowles says:

    It’s been over 2 years since he passed, and I am still moved by your tribute. I have also lost a close friend, and platitudes don’t help. Nothing does.
    I was a poor student of Sir Gary, and only knew him through the Letters he so generously posted.
    What I can safely say is that the impact of such a transparent life lingers for many generations.
    Many of us were inspired by him, and many deplored him (I count myself in the first group),
    but all of us knew he was there.

  • Edgar Tucker says:

    Only time I met the late Gary Halbert was at the seminar in Hawk Kay as the secret guest speaker. Adorned with a baseball cap what a message he left. You have been blessed to be with the best.

  • John, I discovered Gary Halbert 2 days ago. I tried to be a marketer without having any idea who and what Gary Halbert was, without reading a single line written by him. I am kind of person that digs deep, very deep. I am glad that I am finally out of the woods. But think about it: there is not enough information about Gary Halbert. I found out that Bond is putting a book together about his father. I am still looking for Gary Halbert’s page in Wikipedia and I am not finding it. In fact it took me a couple of hours to find out if he was alive. Unfortunately, he was not. I think more people need to know about Gary. I also think that there needs to be a special Gary Halbert page in Wikipedia. And who if not you, John, his best friend, will write it?

  • Steve says:

    I feel very ignorant right now. I am listening to Bill Myers’ seminar in Silver Springs from the 90’s–I was still a little kid. No two personalities made that seminar as great as you and Gary. Bill was the ring leader and Gary made so many sparks fly and I hear that chuckle you are talking about. I just got on Google to become a lifetime subscriber of Gary’s–I started reading your letter and then I started crying. I know I’m more than 2 years late, and this is a ridiculous thing to be posting now, but maybe not. As Easter Sunday comes up I’ll be searching for everything Gary ever produced. I will remember him for the words I get to hear as I listen to him talk about a room full of Christians that went into the wrong seminar doors where a porno was being produced. I have to chuckle. I feel very sad, as I did not know this news until just reading your post. Ignorance is bliss sometimes, I mean for my tone to be respectful towards a man who has left behind an amazing legacy in his words and deeds. Thought I would post this after almost deleting it so you know your friend is remembered. And Gary’s words and wisdom will carry on into future generations. Thanks for the post and sharing so heartfelt about your friendship, and allowing other ignorant young newbies like myself and the last commenter to have a little glimpse into Gary’s life and the kind of wisdom he bestowed upon the world. Lift your friends memory high this Easter, don’t mourn, be greatful for the greatness you got to share with him. I am more grateful as I finish listening to this seminar. Stay Frosty John.

  • Jan says:

    Every time i watch one of your videos Gary, i laugh the shit out of me.

    I miss you and i look forward to get to know you in person on the other side, although i still may have to wait for a while.


  • muyiwa says:

    I just discovered from a local entrepreneur magazine in Nigeria.
    Men like Gary knew or suspect they were specially made by the Almighty and they had to dispense quickly the good tidings -to make a world a better place- from Man’s Creator.
    I believe he did his best and am sure wherever he is,he is at peace with himself.

    he left a huge wealth for those keen in his free online archives…thoughts that can be extended to
    other aspects of living beyond marketing.
    may his soul rest in peace.
    from Lagos,Nigeria

  • […] John Carlton, a friend of Gary’s, and another master of marketing, had written a fitting tribute on his blog…you can (and should) read that tribute here. […]


    Los Angeles Housewife Reveals Secret Addiction to Reading Gary Halbert’s Copy

    Beverly Hills Celebrity Checks Into Copywriting Addiction Camp In Hopes Of Meeting The Great Copywriting Guru Gary Halbert

    Air Traffic Control Stops All Flights Out Of LAX In Honor of The Great One – Gary Halbert

    Gary Halbert Inspires One Man To Earn An Honest Buck. Man Is So Successful Using Gary’s Methods That He Donates Millions To Charity.

    That’s How I think Gary should be remembered. His work is the gift that keeps on giving. When smart people who are trying to earn a decent living 100 years from now study the greats, Caples and Hopkins will be like the study of prehistoric man and the study of Gary will be like the study of the Birth of Civilization. If I offended anyone with my comments….well…to paraphrase Good ol’ Gary…”you were not going to buy from me anyway.

    Gary will be missed. He has inspired millions and thousands of those were inspired to earn millions.
    Lance Lamoure

  • Nadia K. says:


    Your post hit me right in the gut..

    I’m sorry you lost such a good friend. I’m sorry the rest of the world will miss such a unique individual.

  • Mike Watts says:

    Wow..I just stumbled in here. Reading this post and the comments posted by others by itself is an education.


  • Berghes says:

    Too bad I won’t get to meet him in this lifetime…after reading all his letters and getting so much out of them I find out that I can never thank him in person…

    Kudos to his sons for keeping that website up.

  • Piotr Sienkiewicz says:

    As long as I read ANYTHING about Gary is… breathtaking!

  • Roger says:

    I miss Gary… a lot.

  • mark says:

    I never met Gary,nor did I read much of his stuff. My loss I guess. I was more into Carlton’s material in which I resonated with more.

    I always considered Gary the “Kenny Stabler” of Copywriting. He wasn’t the best and worked his ass off and was enthralled with business and being a copywriter more than the best ones.

    If you don’t know who Kenny Stabler was, he was the grizzled old veteran Quarterback of the Oakland Raiders in the 70’s. He didn’t care about completed passes, he cared about winning, and being in love with NFL football. That’s how Halbert probably felt about copywriting and business.

    Halbert,have fun on the other side of life.

    Mark G

  • […] touching letter from John Carlton right after Gary died in 2007 sums it up nicely. If you still don’t want to read his letters […]

  • […] do you? While on the topic of content writing or copywriting, two places you should start from are The Big Damn John Carlton’s Blog and the famous Gary Halbert Newsletter Series – if nothing, you’d enjoy the read […]

  • Danny Welsh says:

    Rest in peace, Gary. We never met, sir, but I have such respect for the legacy you left and for how much you taught me. I am forever in your debt.

  • I am one of the lucky ones who had the pleasure of knowing Mr. Halbert. He’s one of the most creative people I know. He will surely be missed.

  • […] it was written by another respected authority in your niche. And in Gary’s bio I think that the heart felt tribute that John Carlton wrote when Gary died could be referenced and linked to in order to shed light on […]

  • […] if you haven’t read my post “For Gary” yet (which I wrote in the hours after learning of his unexpected, untimely passing) go […]

  • Louella Durette says:

    Valuable information. Fortunate me I discovered your site by chance, and I’m stunned why this accident didn’t took place in advance! I bookmarked it.

  • Carl Picot says:

    I got the same feeling when reading this as I did when John Lennon died … It’s seldom that words can evoke such strong emotion in me…

    I almost felt like I was there.

    Still learning from his words … now from his sons 🙂

    Gary would have been proud of this post John.



  • […] technieken. John Carlon, Gary’s beste vriend in de business, schreef nog een mooi eerbetoon “For Gary” op zijn […]

  • Kru says:

    It’s amazing how much of a presence he had and still has.

  • I learned so many important things about Gary Halbert from your post. Thanks for writing this. Nice work.

  • I have not heard about Gary, so it is good to learn new things and I will sure to check out these news-letters as we can all use help in copy that sells, specially me! Thanks.I have not heard about Gary, so it is good to learn new things and I will sure to check out these news-letters as we can all use help in copy that sells, specially me! Thanks.

  • Eric says:

    It was a sad day. I was speechless. Rest in peace Gary.

  • Maurice Thrower says:

    Just been listening to the interviews of Gary Halbert with Fortin. Now I know what all the fuss is about. He’s beyond Amazing!

  • […] For Gary – John Carlton – John, Thank you for sharing what all of us who knew Gary were thinking, in such an eloquent way. I only knew Gary personally for about 7 months but after studying his … […]

  • […] For Gary – John Carlton – John, Thank you for sharing what all of us who knew Gary were thinking, in such an eloquent way. I only knew Gary personally for about 7 months but after studying his … […]

  • […] For Gary | The RANT – Well said, John. The world’s a smaller place for the loss of Gary, and his good nature and legendary skills are an inspiration to everyone. I feel sad for you … […]

  • […] letters before Gary’s passing in 2007. And inbetween writing this journal entry, i found a blog post that John Carlton wrote on his passing.  I know I can get sucked in to reading that stuff, so […]

  • […] Halbert passed less than seven years ago, in 2007. And direct response marketers knew they lost a legend when he […]

  • shitweasel says:

    it has been almost 10 years since gary passed.

    and 10 years from now I will still be reading his newsletters.

    thank you gary.

  • […] Sadly the world lost a legend back in 2007 when he died just short of 69 — leaving a legacy his beloved friend John Carlton deemed: “worthy of a king.” […]

  • […] by Gary Halbert and now continued by one of his […]

  • Bogdan says:

    I only found out about Gary a couple of years ago. I read all the content from his website. After one letter, I could not stop, I had to read it all. Anyway. It’s so strange that sometimes I catch myself thinking: “I can’t believe Gary Halbert’s gone.”
    Great man. RIP

  • Hector says:

    Beautifully said. I’m new to the direct response world of marketing and have heard nothing but great things of Gary and yourself sir.

    I look forward to meeting you one day.

  • Corey A. says:

    Just now watching the 2005 Fusion seminar (Miami airport) that featured you guys. Found Gary’s stuff in 2019 after a couple years floundering in business. Still sad to think about Gary being gone even 13 years later…thanks for this post.

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