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#245155 - 08/16/07 01:54 AM Emory King dies at 76 years old.
Short Offline
Emory King dead at 76

Film commissioner, author and historian Emory King died at his home in Tropical Park last night. He was 76 and had been ailing from symptoms associated with cancer. In his 54 years in Belize, the American born King made a wide mark, not least of them here at Channel 7, where he co-founded Tropical Vision in 1980. Today, to reflect on why King mattered, we pulled up an old interview from 1998. The interview was done at the time for an art project, not for the news – so what you’re about to see has never been aired and it provides a useful insight into who Emory King was.
Emory King, Deceased
[1998 Interview] “I’ve been here 44 years. I got shipwrecked on the Great Belize reef in 1953 and I’ve been here ever since.”

And King always said that’s how his story fits in with the Belize story.

Emory King,
“Belize, the land of the reluctant immigrant. Nobody ever came here willingly but once they got here they never left willingly either. They stayed and stayed. When you stop and think about it, the pirates, the slaves, the Garifuna, the Mestizos – nobody came here because they wanted to but once they were here, hallelujah – they have found paradise.”

More than paradise and he also found a place in history.

Yasser Musa, NICH President
“In terms of history he is known to have brought the Mennonites, negotiated the bringing of the Mennonites to Belize, he was a founding member of the Belize Historical Society, he was the film commissioner, he brought many films, documentaries to Belize, and in many instances that creased a lot of employment and opportunities, and an important thing that Emory did for many years was the Tribute to Belizean Patriots. In terms of media, he had a great impact. I know in 1980 along with Net Vasquez, the owner of Tropical Vision, they brought the first satellite dish to Belize, and of course the rest is history in terms of that being a major signpost to the opening up of global culture.”

Emory King,
“I wrote books and I have lectures and I got the movies in here, I brought the Mennonites to Belize, and I’ve had a grand old time.”

Yasser Musa,
“But from a personal standpoint, I think anybody that encountered Emory King knows he was a great raconteur, a great storyteller, he always had a pocketful of jokes that at anytime he would deliver with such amazing skill.”

And he parlayed that into bit roles in Hollywood movie made in Belize.

Emory King,
“In my first movie which is the ‘Dogs of War’ in 1980 I stood in a bar with a glass of whiskey and a cigar and Christopher Walking. In my second picture, the ‘Mosquito Coast,’ I sat in a bar with a glass of whiskey and a cigar and Harrison Ford. In my third picture, a thing called ‘Caribe,’ I sat in a bar with a glass of beer and my hat and my cigar and a pretty girl across the table. I thought my career was taking off. Unfortunately in my fourth picture, I died – in more ways than one.”

But more than a star, King just wanted to be accepted as a Belizean.

Emory King,
“I became a Belizean at heart back in ’54 and I became a Belizean legally in 1964 so I only thought about Belize, Belize, Belize.”

Jules Vasquez,
Do you feel that you are a full-fledged Belizean?

Emory King,
“I do. I expect there are a lot of people out there, if I live to be 100 years old, will never look at me as anything but a foreigner who came here. Okay I understand that, that is true in all small places. Everywhere in the world, small places tend to look at people from outside as outsiders forever. That’s all right, I have two sons and I have grandchildren and everything is going to be alright. Belize will survive and may even prevail.”

And that spirit was the subject of his sometimes controversial history books.

Emory King,
“We were not a plantation colony. We were not a colony, that is the first thing. We were on our own business; collected our own taxes, spent it anyway we liked. Every free man, whether he was white or black, could go to the public meeting and vote and party and talk and serve as a Magistrate. It didn’t make any difference. Besides that, many men took black slave ladies and fell in love with them and had children with them, created the Creole society that is still going strong in Belize today.”

Yasser Musa,
“Yes it was a voice that came under scrutiny and attack in many ways from various historians but that is the beautiful thing about history, there are many perspectives and there are many voices and that is what is great about open dialogue and a free society.”

And those ideals are all king could have ever hoped for Belize.

Emory King,
“We’re going to do great things in the future, in spite of our mistakes but we have to love Belize and be ready to stand up for Belize and the only way you can do that is to understand our history and appreciate what’s happened in the past.”

And as he took a daring turn at the YWCA fashion show in 2006 – we can look back and say – we have lost a Belizean and a patriot.

King’s funeral has been set for tomorrow at Holy Redeemer.

Live and let live

#245156 - 08/16/07 02:09 AM Re: Emory King dies at 76 years old. [Re: Short]
Short Offline
Emory King: dead at 76

There are only a handful of people in this country about whom it could be said that without their presence Belize would not be what it is today. Last night one of them died. New’s Five’s Stewart Krohn explains.

Stewart Krohn
It is difficult to describe the impact that Emory King has had on the nation’s modern history, simply because the scope of his influence has been so wide and so deep. Among Emory’s many contributions over the last half century, however, a few stand out. In 1958 he was the driving force for the welcoming of the Mennonites to Belize, and you can be sure that next year, when Spanish Lookout and Blue Creek celebrate their fiftieth anniversaries, Emory’s name will ring out like church bells. As for tourism, what is now arguably Belize’s biggest industry, he promoted and championed it at a time when it simply did not exist. And how about the movies? Emory single handedly created that industry in 1979 when he overheard a pair of Hollywood producers in the Fort George dining room lamenting that they couldn’t get anyone to take them seriously about making a feature film in Belize. A few months later The Dogs of War began shooting in Belize City, to be followed over the years by Mosquito Coast and dozens of other films, documentaries, commercials and music videos. The thousands of jobs, however temporary, and millions of dollars pumped into the economy are reverberating in many households to this day. As for politically motivated accusations that he was getting rich off a cushy job as Belize’s first film commissioner, I have personally watched him spend more of his own money on lunches for Hollywood producers than he has ever received as a government employee. And while on the subject of politics, Emory King was as loyal a member of the Peoples United Party as you will ever find. But despite his close friendships which extended to the highest ranks of the P.U.P., to my knowledge he never once asked for or received so much as an acre of government land or a dollar in government contracts. It can be safely assumed that you will never find the name of Emory King immortalized in a report by any Commission of Inquiry.

This is not to say that Emory King was anything even approaching a saint. His views on Belizean history, though deeply felt and researched, were controversial. In recent years those controversies tended to overshadow his vast body of achievement in other fields of endeavour ... one of which happens to be the one you’re watching. For someone considered to be the embodiment of “old school” it must be noted that Emory—with business partner Net Vasquez—brought the first satellite earth station to Belize, and two years later—as my own business partner—founded the nation’s first television production company, Great Belize Productions, which later became the parent of this station, Channel Five. Emory for these reasons, and many more, we will always be indebted to you.

Funeral services will take place Thursday afternoon at two-thirty at Holy Redeemer Cathedral followed by interment at Tropical Park. Emory King: dead at seventy-six.

Live and let live

#245161 - 08/16/07 03:21 AM Re: Emory King dies at 76 years old. [Re: Short]
Marty Offline
very very sad. quite the man. he helped me in many ways...

#245167 - 08/16/07 08:03 AM Re: Emory King dies at 76 years old. [Re: Short]
helper Offline
When I first arrived in 1989 I learned about Mr. King from a pamphlet I picked up that he wrote about investing/retiring in Belize. I returned shortly after that first sojourn and sought him out, prepared with the price of admission to pick his brain: a box of fine cigars.

He shared his wisdom through humorous stories punctuated by interesting tidbits of history bedecked with his trademark hat at his then office, Admiral Burnaby's. He was a fascinating character. He captivated my attention, I was charmed, and before we both knew it hours and hours had passed.

He was kind, introducing me to his wife and family, sharing meals with me, inviting me along to this and that place, and over the years always dropped it all to chat whenever I'd stop by unannounced or our paths would cross in all myriad of places. Although I never needed to, I knew that if I had a problem all I'd need do was call my friend with the hat for guidance.

He cared deeply about his country and shared that with newcomers so freely. He was a patriot who wanted us to love Belize as much as he did. And I did. I learned so much more about the country, its history and people because of his knowledge, stories and writings. He was also a businessman, saw to alot of progress, and the country benefitted from his many endeavors.

He leaves Belize better than when he found it. Something we should all try to live up to.

Rest in peace Emory, my dear friend, you will be sorely missed.

#245178 - 08/16/07 10:15 AM Re: Emory King dies at 76 years old. [Re: helper]
elbert Offline
Sad news, A truly great man in the history of Belize.
The Dive Shops Daily Blog

#245193 - 08/16/07 11:36 AM Re: Emory King dies at 76 years old. [Re: elbert]
Sir Isaac Newton Offline
Well ole' boy, back together with your son and my friend Alex. Don't reorganize stuff up there too much! Thanks for paving the way for all us ex-pats down here and setting the example of how we can be a positive force in Belize through personal sacrifice! See you when I get there.

Check out my site: www.ambergriscayerealestate.net

#245230 - 08/16/07 06:43 PM Re: Emory King dies at 76 years old. [Re: Sir Isaac Newton]
Laguna Punta Offline
It was always a great pleasure and honor to meet Emory King. He served as a template for expatriots...not hovering about with fellow expatriots...he emerced himself within the Belizian Culture.
Gone fishing!!

#245233 - 08/16/07 07:53 PM Re: Emory King dies at 76 years old. [Re: Laguna Punta]
Short Offline
I was proud to have met and talk to him a few months ago.
I love his catchphrases about Belize, and especially this one:

When you come to Belize without patience you will learn it.
When you come to Belize with patience you will loose it.
Live and let live

#245342 - 08/17/07 05:37 PM Re: Emory King dies at 76 years old. [Re: Short]
Short Offline
Amandala: Emory King passes at age 76

Belize Film Commissioner, Emory King, passed away on Tuesday evening, August 14, at his home in Tropical Park at the age of 76.

Since his arrival in Belize in 1953 after the yacht he was on ran aground on the Belize Barrier Reef near English Caye, King has been talking and writing about Belize. King began writing a weekly column for the Belize Times in the early 1970’s, and later wrote nine books based on his personal experiences, as well as his studies on the settlement of Belize.

These books are “How to Invest or Retire in Belize,” “Hey Dad, This is Belize,” “I Spent It All In Belize,” “The Little World of Danny Vasquez,” “Belize, 1798 - The Road to Glory,” “Slavery in Belize - A Family Affair,” “The Great Story of Belize Vol. I & II” and “Emory King’s Driver’s Guide to Belize.”

King also made his living in public relations, insurance, real estate, and tourism.

Emory King played a vital role in the development of Belize’s film industry. He helped to coordinate the production of the first movie ever to be filmed in Belize - “The Dogs of War” in 1979, and later, three big budget films.

In December of 1998, King was rewarded for his contribution to the film industry in Belize when he was appointed the first Film Commissioner of Belize by the Government of Belize.

Emory King, a native of Jacksonville, Florida, was predeceased by his wife, Elisha, and his second son, Alexander King. He is survived by his first son, Emory, Jr., and two grandchildren.

Funeral services for Emory Ralston King were held on Thursday afternoon, August 16, at Holy Redeemer Cathedral, followed by interment at his home in Tropical Park.

Live and let live


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