Field Reports1 Mar, 2008 By: Thomas Haire, Jacqueline Renfrow Response
DRTV Legend and Palm Springs Humanitarian Earl Greenburg Dies at 61
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — Earl Greenburg, founder and partner at well-known DRTV industry consultancy Transactional Marketing Partners (TMP) and three-time chairman of the board of directors of the Electronic Retailing Association (ERA), passed away from complications from melanoma on Feb. 1 at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, Calif. He was 61.
Greenburg, who was first diagnosed with the disease four years ago, was surrounded by his life partner David Peet, daughter Meredith, son Ari and brother Shelly when he passed. His infant daughter, Kathryn Claire Greenburg-Peet, was at home. A memorial service on Feb. 4 at Temple Isaiah in Palm Springs drew more than 1,000 mourners, including DR industry colleagues, celebrities, two members of Congress, friends and fellow humanitarians.
"Relationships were the cornerstone of everything Earl did," said Rabbi Sally Olins during the service. "That is the statement that defines Earl."
U.S. Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack (and her husband, U.S. Congressman Connie Mack), who represents the Palm Springs area, attended the service, along with long-time friend Suzanne Somers, her husband, Alan Hamel, and their friend, singer Barry Manilow.
Bono Mack released a statement on the afternoon of Greenburg's death, which said, in part, "Earl was a dear friend and a remarkable individual whose many contributions have touched the hearts and lives of people throughout the community and the nation."
Greenburg made the first of two appearances on Response s cover in 1999.
During the service, Greenburg's son, Ari, spoke eloquently – and often humorously – about his father. "My father started teasing me in college about my quickly receding hairline," said the Hollywood agent. "He put his arm around me and gave me some serious fatherly advice: 'Son, marry young.'"
However, Ari Greenburg said that when he sat down to write his eulogy, he kept returning to one theme: his father's ability to bring people together. "To be Earl's best friend is a big deal," he said. "This was a man who spent every waking hour building those relationships ... there are definitely classic stories to tell about Earl's civic accomplishments, his obsessive exercise rituals, the perfectly planned parties, but they all keep leading me back to this circle of friends."
Greg Renker, founder of Guthy-Renker Corp. and a 20-year friend of Greenburg, also spoke about this ability to the gathering. "Earl was the consummate relationship builder," he said. "He was a matchmaker. He was the one who introduced my partner, Bill Guthy, to his now wife, Victoria Jackson, 17 years ago. We just bought a business this month because Earl introduced us to the opportunity. And I feel like I know so many of you in this room because Earl brought us together."