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  • About Larry Shapiro
  • About Larry Shapiro
    Who is Larry Shapiro? Rumors of him first surfaced in his native Sacramento, California, where people reported seeing a child clinging to airport fences just to be near airplanes. Reportedly, by age 10, he had become expert at begging for rides and washing airplanes for flying time, apparently oblivious to the stereotypes. In the schoolyard, every time a Curtis Jenny or a Wright Flyer passed overhead, he would jump up and down and say "look at that airplane!" His teachers would say, "That comedian is going to be an airshow announcer," and the die was cast.

    When the local airstrip was closed to make room for a plastics factory, he figured out a scheme to be near airplanes all the time. Telling his mother he was going out for a pizza, he enlisted in the Air Force, and failed to return for six years. When he did, she asked "Did you remember the anchovies?" He had forgotten, having been distracted by action all over the world, some even in the military. He did remember to take his check ride, and somehow became a pilot.

    He clung to his childhood vision, or rather that of his teachers, and built his master plan for the future. First, he moved to Manhattan, and became a comedy writer for the New York Hysterical Society (it's no joke.) After a rigorous apprenticeship, he founded an advertising and promotional agency known as Larry Shapiro "On Call", which became Shapiro, Benjamin & Wilder when his joke writer and secretary both threatened to quit. Although business was hilarious -- they specialized in comedy-based Public Service Announcements -- Larry thought it was time to sober up, so he went to Israel to wait for a war. One came in 1973. Ultimately, he stayed for two years. He especially liked the food.

    But food wasn't everything -- at least then -- and Larry still had his master plan. So he moved to California, where there were a large number of airports. He figured, "There must be airplanes near some of those airports." and he was right. After considerable research, he settled in on the San Francisco Peninsula where there were (at the time) airports on every street corner. But, he had to eat (food apparently counted for something) so he took a sales job. It turned out this was fortuitous, for it taught him to say whatever came into his mind, a skill he would fully exploit in later years.

    Sales was kind to Larry, but he wasn't selling airplanes. During weekends, and evenings, on his lunch break, in the morning, and at happy hour, he would hang on the fence overlooking the San Carlos Airport, old habits being what they were. Eventually, a man took pity on him, and offered him a job as vice-president of sales and marketing for American Aeromedical Corporation, a flying ambulance service. This taught him the meaning of life and inspired him to serve as President of a local Child Abuse Treatment Center in his spare time.

    With his foot now firmly in the door of aviation, he concluded "The sky's the limit!" He began selling airplanes just so that he could talk about them to strangers, and ultimately founded the now-thriving Jorgenson-Lawrence Aircraft Sales and Management company. Weekends, he flew as airshow demo pilot for the American General Tiger. He also became a frequent toastmaster for the Marriott, after an executive overheard someone saying "That guy's a joke!" But the joke was on the audience, for they were just the proving ground for Larry's airshow act, the local control tower having asked him to stop narrating arrivals and departures from the ramp. "Except during airshows," he said. "Except during airshows," they said. The rest was history.

    Today, by day, Larry is a respected and trusted aircraft broker known in the aviation community for his objective, straight talk. He is especially concerned for the first time buyer and the low-to-moderate time pilot. He is an indefatigable supporter of aviation, and frequent spokesman for the aviation community to the community at large. In the evening, he acts as father to four wonderful children, a life-changing responsibility he accepted several years ago. But "pay day" for him is bringing the joys of aviation to the rest of the world. Almost every weekend will find him working as host announcer and aviation humorist at airshows (saying whatever comes into his mind) -- from modest community events, to complex, massive productions such as the U.S. Air Force's 50th Anniversary Golden Air Tattoo. This labor of love brings together all of his talents, and with his family in attendance, all of his dreams. He has truly realized his life's ambition. Or at least that of his teachers...

    While some folks live with a fear of flying, Larry's biggest fear is not flying.


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