LOS ANGELES — Victor Verrett, formerly sales manager of Elegant Angel and Evil Angel Productions, passed away from cancer, in the early hours of Tuesday morning at the age of 55. He was notable for his larger than life personality, generosity, and his extensively-honored military service in Vietnam.
"He was my best friend for 30 years," said Elegant Angel owner Patrick Collins. "Victor and I met in 1977 or '78 in Vegas. I was in Vegas because I couldn't stand this relationship I was in, and I wanted to go sell advertising specialties at this place, and Victor showed up there, and as it turned out, he had flipped a coin; it was either go to Alaska or Vegas, so that's how we met, and we hit it off right from Day 1. So I had known him for a long time. He worked for me when I was in the investment business, and we always stayed in touch, and when I was working with [Evil Angel owner] John [Stagliano], and it got to the point where Elegant Angel was taking up more of my time, and to do the sales and all the other stuff that I was doing, and also to do Elegant Angel, was a real challenge."
So in 1993, Collins suggested to Stagliano that Verrett be brought in to help with the growing business.
"I can't remember if he started in the warehouse or I started training him right into sales," Collins tried to recall. "I do know that Victor was a good salesman. He was big, gregarious, had a great sense of humor, and people liked him, and the great thing about him having been a Marine is that Victor was like, if I said, 'Here's what we do: If people owe us money, we get our money, and if we don't get our money, we don’t sell them,' that's how Victor dealt with everybody."
Verrett worked for Evil Angel Productions from 1993 to 2000, when according to Collins, he quit over a dispute with Stagliano.
"John didn't fire him; he quit, because John had given him shit," Collins said. "He inferred that Victor had lied, and Victor was the kind of guy that you don't disrespect."
However, Stagliano remembers Verrett as a good, loyal employee.
"He was a good salesman when we were just selling VHS," Stagliano recalled. "He was a good, aggressive salesman in the late '90s for me.Victor could be a really fun guy to be around. He could laugh like nobody else."
After leaving Evil Angel, Verrett briefly opened up his own video distribution company in the San Fernando Valley, but that didn't last long.
"Then he went back to Vegas and he did landscaping," Collins said, "and he also started a website where, if you were a business, you passed out these pamphlets, and if people went to the website, they could get discounts for your business, and that worked out pretty good for him for a few years."
Verrett didn't like to talk about his past, and Collins only found out about Verrett's military service as the pair were driving back from the Consumer Electronics Show in the late '90s.
"In the Marines, Victor was a sharpshooter, reconnaissance guy; he did a lot of work on his own," Collins recounted. "He worked alone in Vietnam. He was dropped into areas and he had to do stuff alone. He couldn't associate with anyone else, and if he saw anyone else, any other Americans, he had to say he was just passing through; he couldn't say anything else. His job was to take out high-ranking Vietnamese officers, and he had a photographic mind; he could see an area and memorize it down to the square foot."
Collins said that Verrett's imposing physique came in handy in some confrontations with video pirates that he, Stagliano and Verrett had ferretted out in New York City in 1993 or '94.
"He was tougher than anybody I ever met and gentler than anybody I ever met," Collins stated, "and had great humor and great courage."
However, in early 2008, Verrett was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma, a disease characterized by painless enlargement of the lymph nodes, spleen or other immune tissue, but often producing fever, fatigue, weight loss and/or night sweats. He underwent chemotherapy for about a year, and in January of 2009, was pronounced free of the disease ... but it swiftly recurred.
"For the last year and a half, he's been going through this thing," Collins said. "I was just there again about ten days ago, and it was ugly, and it got worse after I left. I just talked to him a couple of days ago, and told him when I was going to be coming to see him, and he couldn't hold the time in his head; he kept getting it wrong. I think the chemo did something to his mind."
Verrett is survived by his wife of 28 years, Mikki, a son and three daughters, aged 9 to 24, as well as four grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held in Las Vegas on May 21.