Bill Steinhardt was at the center of direct marketing and mail order copywriting for 60 years.
He was not only one of the highest practitioners of our direct response craft but a lifelong “amateur” in the truest denotation of the word: he loved direct response advertising, persuasion and learning in all of its forms.
He passed away on July 28, at Menorah Medical Center in Overland Park, Kansas at the age of 83. He told me, less than a month ago, that he wanted to make it to his second Bar Mitzvah and that he did. He knew his days were numbered and he gave such an address after the ceremony that he received an ovation — something usually never done in the synagogue.
Bill began his career in 1950 as a copywriter with the mail-order advertising firm of Huber Hoge & Sons in New York. He worked arm-in-arm with the legendary copywriter, Eugene Schwartz, and numerous other mail order luminaries.
Like his friend and colleague, Gene Schwartz, Bill became intensely involved with spiritual matters at the end of his life and wrote several world-class ads related to the role of faith in everyday life.
What I learned from Bill was if you love your craft — really love your craft — money, friends and fulfillment will come in abundance.
Here’s a passage from his address of June 4, 2010.
At this point, my time is running low while standing before you. Anyway, my wife kept reminding me to keep my comments short . . . short . . . short — and then, to hammer in a final exclamation nail, added that — for my remarks to be immortal, they need not be eternal!