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People

Life lessons from Gino Empry

KARIN MARLEY November 14 2005
BACK TALK

People

Life lessons from Gino Empry

KARIN MARLEY November 14 2005

People

BACK TALK

Life lessons from Gino Empry

KARIN MARLEY

Gino Empry wants to make everybody happy. He’s apparently so good at it that the legendary Toronto PR man and entertainment promoter has been told by clients ranging from Peggy Lee, Tony Bennett and Honest Ed Mirvish-he’s been on a first-name basis with them all—that he should start charging for more than just his promotional work. And so he has-the elfin, bumbling Empry has been offering his services as a “happiness guru” since last winter. For $100 an hour, he’ll offer up stories about the rich and famous to reassure rising stars that everyone shares their selfdoubt— he says he’s seen Fred Astaire and Ella Fitzgerald get nervous. His approach is based purely on common sense-as he explains, “I was very shy myself, but I’ve counteracted that by being an extrovert. I’ve got 25 years of experience with everyone from gangsters to cardinals, low life to high life, so I tell stories, and that helps.” With a dozen clients, Empry is at least making himself a happier (and wealthier) man. But so far, none of them have given him as big a compliment as Lee did a few decades back. “Gino,” he recalls her saying, “you really care. I’m not just a pair of boobs to you.” KARIN MARLEY