Ed Butler went to Bishop Loughlin High School, St. John’s University, and St. John’s School of Business, where he got a masters in industrial psychology and began a career in the Personnel Department of Doyle Dane Bernbach, proselytizing on that institution’s behalf and recruiting Ivy Leaguers for its Account Management Training Program. At the age of 35, he ‘put a book together,’ took a $7,000 cut in salary, and was born again as a copywriter on the 25th floor of 20 W. 43rd Street, then the location of the hottest creative department in the world and a place whose admission requirements reflected a ratio of 200 portfolios for every person hired.
Like all who come to a vocation late, Ed was a true believer. He told you his headlines; he told you his last lines; he told you his opening lines; he told you his middle lines; each of which would have been insufferably obnoxious except that he also told you your headlines, opening lines, last lines and middle lines.
He did, he told me, the 21st best Volkswagen commercial in history for DDB; sold some fried chicken for Marschalk; peddled a line of dog food for Young & Rubicam; did some of the funniest Miller Lite spots; and taught aspiring writers and art directors at the School of Visual Arts and then later through his own course, often consciously forgetting to cash the tuition checks. He also worked three times for Ally (once for Carl Ally, once for Ally & Gargano, once for Ally & Gargano MCA) and was content there since in its last permutation, the agency was only a block from the building above the supermarket where he lived since first moving into the city from Queens. He summered at Fire Island and wintered at Club Med. He played a weak, but affable 7-card high low poker (verbal declare) and used two hands to take a set shot. He fought cancer for more than a year and died a very young man last week at 59.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)