It's hard to tell whether Burt Shavitz is a role model or a victim. In 1984 he co-founded the company that bears his name and image still, but sold out to founding partner Roxanne Quimby for a house worth $130,000. In 2003, Quimby sold the company to an investment group and got $ 141 million; she gave Burt $4 million after he complained. When they sold it to Clorox for close to a billion, she got another $150 million and Burt got nothing. But he didn't seem to mind; in the film about him, Burt's Buzz, he tells the filmmaker:
In the long run, I got the land, and land is everything. Money is nothing really worth squabbling about. This is what puts people six feet under. You know, I don’t need it.... I had no desire to be a upward-mobile rising yuppie with a trophy wife, a trophy house, a trophy car.
"What I have in this situation is no regret," he said last year while sitting in a rocking chair in his home in Parkman. "The bottom line is she's got her world and I've got mine, and we let it go at that."
Quite the life, for a guy who started his career as a news photographer for a Jewish weekly in New York. Others might have been bitter; Burt never seemed to be bothered by anything. When his hot water heater broke a few years ago he didn't even bother fixing it; he just heated his water on the stove. As the CBC notes, "He liked passing the time by watching wildlife."
Burt Shavitz, dead at 80. Read more about The Back Story Behind Burt's Bees: It Sold Out Years Ago