CHATSWORTH, Calif.—Ed Kail, who worked in sales at VCA Pictures for 18 years, passed away peacefully at 3:01 p.m. Tuesday due to lung cancer.
Kail, who hailed from the Bronx, N.Y., got his start in the business at Caballero Video during that company's early-1980s golden years. There he met Marty Turkel, who became his best friend and sales tag-team partner, and after approximately three years, the pair moved over to VCA together, where they reigned supreme for nearly two decades to follow as the industry's most revered sales duo.
In 2003, Marty and Ed sadly parted ways to pursue new ventures, the former taking over the West Coast Office of Bo Kenney's LGI Digital (parent company of SexZ Pictures), and the latter joining his daughter Bonnie at Devil's Film, where he took charge of domestic sales for Elegant Angel, which Devil's distributed at the time. Bonnie moved on two years later to join the sales team at Wicked Pictures, while Ed joined forces with Empire Video Distributors' Roy Karch to launch a production and manufacturing company called Epic Interactive that unfortunately never got off the ground. Shortly thereafter, however, he took over sales at DVSX. Turkel, meanwhile, went on to manage sales for a time at Juicy Entertainment, but his failing health kept him from holding the position long, and he died of a heart attack in 2009.
Throughout his career, Ed Kail regarded all those he worked with as family, and the sentiment was mutual. In 2005, he told AVN, "I feel like I'm going to a family dinner every day when I come to work. They're all like family to me."
AVN office manager Bonnie LeBlanc, who worked with Kail for many years at VCA before coming to AVN, echoed that statement, saying, "Ed was like a second daddy to me. My own dad is named Ed and his daughter was Bonnie, so we instantly bonded. I will miss his wonderful laughter and will always cherish the advice he gave me on a daily basis. My heart goes out to the family. I will miss you, my friend."
AVN and X3Sixty founder Paul Fishbein offered, "Ed Kail is one of the most likable, friendly, free-spirited people the industry has ever known. I've been friends with Bonnie Kail, his daughter, for 30 years, so I know the guy. He was a guy's guy. Sports, gambling, women, drinking, eating, smoking, and did I mention gambling? But nice to everyone ... his family, his friends, his customers."
A memorial for Kail is being organized to take place Sunday. AVN will report more details as they become available.
Betty Hampshire, wife of VCA founder Russ Hampshire, provided AVN the following remembrance of Ed Kail Wednesday afternoon on behalf of herself and her husband:
"Ed Kail came to work for VCA in the '80s, and he was joined by his 'sidekick' Marty Turkel. They both worked in sales, and having the pleasure of the two of them for so many years was an honor, and it was also very entertaining. They always had great stories of the old days. Marty left us a few years ago, and with Ed's passing, it's a great loss for us.
"Ed loved his sports and the ladies ... always charming and flirting. He had a great rapport with his customers, and helped VCA grow with his charm and knowledge. I was learning to play golf in the early '90s, and Ed gave me some good tips. Marty, Ed, Howard Levine and myself went out and played a round of golf a few times, and always had some good laughs. Ed almost killed me while in the golf cart, as he was trying to maneuver a big hill, and the morning dew caused us to start sliding sideways. I still chuckle hearing Howard Levine yell, 'Ed, if you hurt Betty, Russ will fire you!' All I remember is Ed yelling, 'Hold on, Betty!'
"Russ and I had the pleasure of meeting Ed for breakfast a few times in the last year, and he really didn't change that much, considering he was 80 years old ... just the loss of hearing, a lot of 'huh?' I spoke to Ed just last week and he remembered how much I loved his favorite plastic toothpicks, and asked if he should order me some more. Can you imagine?
"We loved Ed, and he will be missed. He loved his family so much, and was blessed to have so many great friends as well. R.I.P. Ed Kail."