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Recognizing the Legacy of Richard Nameyby Representative Alan Grayson
Posted on 2015-02-04
in the house of representatives
Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Mr. GRAYSON. Mr. Speaker, I rise to recognize the life and legacy of
Richard ``Rick'' Ellis Namey, who died of a heart attack on February 26
at the age of 66. Rick wasn't a man defined by one title, one line of
work, or one talent. He was many things: successful concert promoter,
advertising genius, pitchman, standup comic, author, screenwriter, and
political activist. Friends and family say one thing is certain; he
didn't do anything halfway. With every endeavor, he went all out.
Rick was born in Baltimore on February 12, 1949. The oldest son of Albert and Salam Namey, his father met his mother while traveling abroad in Beirut, Lebanon. An aerospace engineer, Albert took a job with Martin Marietta and the family moved to Orlando when Rick was 10.
Rick began pursuing his ambitions while attending Winter Park High School and Sanford Naval Academy. At age 16, he won a teen disc jockey competition on WLOF-AM and began managing local bands like Mr. Banana and the Bunch and Marshmallow Steamshovel. He was also a performer.
Rick's first business venture was a coffee shop called The Hobbit in Daytona Beach, which catered to the hippie crowd, followed by The Purple Door in Bithlo. His success booking national acts like Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band for events at the Tangerine Bowl and the Daytona International Speedway led him to start Cosmic Productions. Rick was part of the promotional team for Woodstock and appears in a documentary about the 1969 music festival.
Rick took ideas and turned them into reality, even if they failed. During the Summer of Love, he started a business selling love beads. He had an importer, stringer, and packager and he was going to make thousands--until it was revealed the ink on his product was poisonous. Despite some setbacks, Rick's many successes were featured in an Orlando Sentinel article when he was just 23.
An active participant in the civil rights movement, Rick attended rallies and worked on presidential campaigns including McGovern/ Eagleton and Carter/Mondale. Though Central Florida was always his home and he worked hard to promote it, he often rubbed elbows with the rich and famous. Old photos show Rick and the Carter family at home watching the Kentucky Derby in the 1970s.
The list of Rick's accomplishments is long. Rick and his brother, Charles, started two of Orlando's first black pop radio stations--WORJ and WORL--and Kissimmee's first tourist channel. Rick had a nationally syndicated radio show with Hugh Rodham, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's brother. He also served as interim manager for the Backstreet Boys and cut an album of Vietnam War protest songs.
Through his company, Stuyvesant Corporation, Rick wrote hundreds of TV and radio ads including ``Mr. Stereo and Video,'' ``Mad Max,'' ``Cheese Wars'' and ``Sounds Unlimited.'' Many of his ads garnered him national Addy Awards for creative excellence.
Rick was most proud of his screenwriting, which included Lake Woebegone Boys with Garrison Keiler, and Matt Merlin, a story about a kid wizard. Universal Studios optioned Matt Merlin well before Harry Potter took the world by storm.
He was also the author of several published non-fiction books including Fodor's Disney Like A Pro, Orlando Like A Pro, and Buy This Book and Make Me Rich, a political satire. His most recent book, Casey's Ghost, chronicled his brief stint as the ghost writer for Casey Anthony, who was acquitted of the 2008 murder of her daughter Caylee in a trial televised worldwide.
Mr. Namey was a longtime member of Mensa. In recent years, he spent his time volunteering for local Democratic candidates and rallying for liberal causes. His ideas never stopped, his opinions grew stronger with age, and his love for his family was unparalleled.
I am humbled to honor the memory, life, and outstanding achievements of Richard Namey.