SAN DIMAS, Calif. - The adult video business has lost one of its most beloved personalities.
Industry veteran Marty Turkel died Monday evening at San Dimas hospital of a heart attack, following a prolonged series of health setbacks. He was 75.
"He was my best friend, and a legend in the industry," said Ed Kail, who shared an office with Turkel at VCA Pictures for more than 20 years. "Everybody knew his name, and they knew he was not only a dynamite salesperson but a wonderful human being. He was loved by everyone in this industry. I loved him like a brother, and I'm going to miss him very much."
Born in Brooklyn, New York on Dec. 18, 1933, Turkel served with the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He was wounded and briefly held as a POW.
Turkel began his career in the adult business in the early 1980s with California Video Distributors, an early offshoot of Caballero.
"When I was with Caballero, Marty came out to work for us in 1982 or '83," Kail told AVN. "After about three years, Russ Hampshire called and asked us to switch over to VCA."
It was the heyday of the classic Dark Brothers movies and other best-selling VCA releases - and Turkel's salesmanship was untouchable.
"Marty was a very hard worker," Kail said. "He traveled a lot for VCA. He handled distribution, but he effectively functioned as a general manager. We sold a lot together."
When Larry Flynt and company bought VCA, Turkel moved on to work for Juicy Entertainment. But soon thereafter, his failing health placed him on the sidelines.
"Marty had been in frail health for three years," an emotional Kail told AVN. "He suffered multiple strokes and heart attacks. He had at least ten operations, and at the end, he had very little quality of life."
Ed Kail's daughter, Bonnie, spoke to AVN about her enduring affection for Turkel.
"I loved Marty so much," she said. "Because he and my dad were like brothers, I called him Uncle Marty. The two of them together were like Heckle and Jeckyl. Marty was just so funny, so hilarious. I'm going to miss him so much."
Turkel is survived by his wife of 51 1/2 years, Lynn; his son Larry and daughter Nikki; his brother Allie; his daughter-in-law, Pam, and son-in-law Jack; and his grandchildren, Bryce, Jackie, and J.P.; and his great-grandson, Desmond.
"I'm going to miss him," Ed Kail said. "I love Marty as I love a brother, and I always will."
Turkel will be cremated according to his wishes. A memorial service will be held Thursday, March 5 at 10:30 a.m. at White's Funeral Home at 404 East Foothill Blvd. in Azusa, Calif.
AVN will post a memorial page for Marty Turkel later today. In the meantime, please feel free to use the comment section below to share any personal memories you may have of Marty.