Farewell to the remarkable Herschell Gordon Lewis

To say that Herschell Gordon Lewis was a legend, is underplaying his impact on both the catalog and movie world. I met Herschell back when he was a spry 75 year old. I was hosting my very first DMA Catalog Conference round table, and I was late getting from my session to the table. I apologized, sat down, and passed out handouts. Everyone looked at me oddly. Glancing across the table I said “You look familiar,” to the dapper gentleman with the kind, but amused grin. And then it hit me, “You’re Herschell Gordon Lewis.” Mark DelFranco, industry writer and comic, started laughing. A quick glance around the table showed a cast of giants in the industry. I was terrified.

“You’re not here to hear me talk about catalog creative,” I said, my stomach hitting the floor.

“No” said Mark.

I blurted out, “This is the closest table to the stage.” I honestly couldn’t think of anything else to say. It was one of those slow-mo social disasters we all dread.

And then Herschell held up the handout I had worked so hard on and said, “This looks interesting.”

With a tilt of his head, and a wry grin, Mark said “Bit of an over achiever are we?” (I really had spent a lot of time on the handout.)

And Herschell saved the day, “Nonsense, I think it brings up several points well worth discussing. Let’s look at number 1.” And that was the moment I loved Herschell Gordon Lewis with all my heart. Over lunch we all had a fabulous discussion about copy, (Yes people read it!), creative and a bit about Herschell. It turns out we share the same birthday. He remembered me after that and always had something kind and interesting to say when I ran into him at conferences.

Herschell will be long remembered for his wit, intelligence, charm and all those very gory movies. Farewell to a truly gifted and unique individual. And Herschell, thank you again for your kindness to a socially awkward newbie.

All the best,

Sarah Fletcher

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