Richard Beers 1949–2016

We received the following email this afternoon. Sad, sad news. I shall remember the Richard Beers of unlimited energy and enthusiasm, pictured above at the 2013 T.H.E. Show in Newport Beach, CA. Richard made audio shows fun for all—exhibitors, press, and most all audiophiles of every persuasion. We’ll miss you, Richard.—John Atkinson

Dear Industry Friends,

My name is Maurice Jung and I am the interim President for T.H.E. Show Newport. It is with heartfelt sorrow that I must inform you of the passing of Mr. Richard Beers. He fought a good fight against lung cancer and because of his eternal optimism, he believed he was going to win that battle.

This is why many of your phone calls and/or e-mails went unanswered and I am sure he is truly sorry for that. Unfortunately with the chemotherapy and radiation treatments he was undergoing, he was unable for some time to write or use the computer. He kept a lot of us in the dark as to his sickness always wanting to be the strong warrior. This probably came from his familial ancestry as we have just learned that not only was Richard a military man, but he was a son of the Revolution. It has been hard on the family members and immediate friends to comprehend his passing and only a few of us have barely even begun to realize that he is not coming back. The shock has been great.

Having known Richard and Beverley, his family and immediate friends for over 20 years, I became a part of his family and he became a part of mine. He had a very interesting life and he was very proud of T.H.E. Show and the support he received from the audio industry.

I'm sure that many of you have stories to share as well. We have set up a web page on T.H.E. Show's site as a memorial to Richard, please share your thoughts and accolades for all to see the impact he had on so many people.

Richard's main concern before his passing, outside of his family and friends, was T.H.E. Show and that it must still continue to move forward and thrive. This is why instead of canceling this year, we decided to honor his wish that it go on. Therefore, this year, T.H.E. Show Newport is dedicated to Mr. Richard Beers in Memoriam. Marine, Wess, Nick, and I have worked steadfastly to make sure that T.H.E. Show Newport 2016 will be the best one yet, in honor of Richard and all he has done over the years to make it a success.

In closing, we thank you again for your support and friendship. Plans are underway for a memorial service to be held at T.H.E. Show Newport on Friday evening, June 3rd in T.H.E. Lounge, located in Hotel Irvine's Pavilion, previously the Headphonium . . . details to follow. We hope you will join us to honor Richard's life.

With heartfelt sorrow,
Maurice Jung
Interim President
T.H.E. Show Newport

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

Unexpected deaths of industry friends always come as something of a shock. But in the case of Richard Beers, the feeling of loss is especially deep. For a good decade or more, I have always thought of December (until T.H.E. Show Las Vegas said goodbye) and May (when T.H.E. Show Newport/Irvine began) as the months when I would again get in touch with Richard to write my show previews. I always looked forward to these times with glee, because Richard was always a joy. Through his increasingly hoarse and cigarette-smoke clogged lungs, he would chat away, often answering queries for specifics with liberal approximations. But somehow we’d get through it all with lots of laughs, and the preview would come.

Writing my shows wraps, however, was another story. When I’d press Richard for attendance numbers, he’d variously equivocate or suggest something was wrong with me for actually acting like a serious journalist. (“We can never please, Jason,” was one of his retorts to my decision to no longer print inflated attendance figures that other industry veterans questioned.) These periods would quickly turn into a bit of a cat and mouse game, with Richard knowing that if he stalled long enough, the show wrap would have to be posted, figures or not.

And so it went. But despite that little friction, my admiration for Richard and joy in seeing him grew stronger as the years progressed. His achievement with the Southern California show was major, and a great gift to industry and consumers alike. Equally great were his oft-hilarious stints at the microphone during ribbon cutting ceremonies, where he feigned nonchalance even as he fretted and organized for months on end.

Only once did I hit a brick wall with Richard, and that was when I submitted and saw published a photo of him in serious mode, caught off guard while prepping his support staff. “Never take a photo of me when my face isn’t ready!” he admonished me. After that, I only submitted photos of Richard taken during public presentations, when the smile and oft-sardonic gaze were intact.

Richard, I’m sorry for the pain you had to go through. But with Maurice Jung serving as Interim President of T.H.E. Show, and your wishes that “the show must go on” fulfilled, I know you are smiling once again. You will be sorely missed. May your time on other planes be filled with love.

Anton's picture

This is an epic loss for the hobby.

Richard was more than the T.H.E. Show's organizer, he was truly it's host. He was always ready for a hug and a chat and a devil may care moment over a glass of vino.

My favorite silly Richard memory: I gave a call at the official T.H.E. phone number one July to ask something about the coming January's show. To my happy surprise, Richard answered the phone! We chatted for a sec and there was a lot of reverb from his end. I asked if I had called at a bad time or if he were busy. He replied, "No, I just got out of the shower....and I'm naked."

Dang, he cracks me up even when he's dead.

Love to Richard, I know he'd have a great sarcastic line for us right now.

Jancuso's picture

We are incredibly sad to hear the news of Richard's transition. Others have presented hifi shows, no one did it with the flair Richard did. From the beginning, things were different; the BBQ lunches on the lawn, live music, the care and feeding of new, up and coming companies and media, always inviting new folks into the tent we call high-end. Now, martini's will be poured and stories will be shared, in the name of Richard Beers, Audio Impresario. To quote Dr. Seuss, "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened." We'll always remember Richard's smile.

Bill Leebens's picture

Back when I was writing a blog at Audiogon, I called up Richard after a Vegas THE Show, asking about attendance. Richard became a little prickly and said, "well, what did I say it was LAST year?"

"You said it was 'a bunch'."

"Well, then---say it was 'a bunch and a whole bunch more'!"

In the years that followed that, we became good friends, and Richard supported me through the crash-and-burns that seem to be inevitable in audio. I helped him out at Newport several times, and he walked me through the NY show in 2012, step by step.

He was one of the kindest people I've ever known, and he would do his damnedest to hide that fact. He was protective of what he called "my people"---the misbegotten gaggle of misfits that make up high-end audio---- and would joke about them until someone from "outside" gave them shite. Then he was like a mother lion.

Similarly: God help you if you were an exhibitor that strung him out on payment or made "dog ate my homework" excuses, or a member of hotel staff attempting to assert authority. Then, the "I'm not fucking around" voice would come out, and he would say, "THIS is what's happening now..."

I owe him a very great deal, and I'm pissed off that I'll never be able to repay him. And goddamnit John--now I'm crying yet again.

Glotz's picture

All of these kind words makes me feel like I knew him, and I did not. I know I've missed out.

Thank you guys for sharing.