It’s not every day we get to see the subject of a true-crime series appear on the screen and let alone narrate the story himself. But Gary Betzner was one of those bold ones who self-narrated his adventures on HBO’s The Invisible Pilot in 2022.
Keep reading this Gary Betzner Bio to learn more about him.
Meet Gary Betzner, The Subject Of HBO’s The Invisible Pilot
It was September 19, 1977, when Gary Betzner reportedly jumped off a bridge in Hazen, Arkansas, and died in the White River. However, the report wasn’t true. It seems that this mastermind had just faked his death to avoid jail time.
So, how did it all come to this? Well, Gary used to be just your average crop-dusting pilot who worked monotonously for 15 long years. Naturally, he then grew tired of the difficult working conditions, and in 1976, he sold his company and moved with his family to Alaska.
At the time, rumors were going on that people were earning a bunch from investing in oil pipelines. Thus, without a second thought, he bid $500 thousand to buy-in. Unfortunately, his money “didn’t pay the right people” and the contract went to another company.
Losing almost all of his savings, Gary then flew his family to Anchorage and started smuggling whiskey and marijuana. However, this wasn’t generating enough income and forced them to move back to Hazen to live in his wife’s mother’s house.
Not soon after, Gary was diagnosed with gout — for which, he claimed that cocaine was instrumental in curing it. But on Mar 4, 1977, when he went to buy some, the dealer’s house was raided by DEA agents, and he was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
So, here comes the turning point. Gary then got out on a bail and devised a plan to fake his death and restart his life in another country. For this, Gary took hypnosis classes for weeks to hypnotize his wife to believe his death, practiced throwing his clothes over the bridge, and once his shoes hit the water, the programming would begin and Sally would become hysterical.
And somehow, the plan worked!
Gary Betzner Today
Today, as of 2022, Gary Betzner lives in Arkansas with his third wife.
Even though he has a lot of remorse over his actions, he still hates the CIA for going back on their words.
In case you don’t know about their deal, Gary alleged that the CIA leveraged him for their secret mission to arm anti-communist, Contra rebels in Nicaragua. He shared that Morales “had made a deal with the CIA to supply [the Contras]. He wanted me to fly guns and ammunition to the Contras and bring some contraband back.”
But when Gary believed that doing the guns-for-drugs trade would keep him out of jail, he was still arrested on Nov. 13, 1984, and sentenced to 27 years and two months in federal prison for the importation of cocaine.
Gary Betzner Net Worth
Gary Betzner flaunted a net worth of approximately $10 million at the height of his smuggling days. But since the FBI seized a majority of his asset, today, he leads a humble life.
So, Gary’s net worth as of 2022 would probably be less than a few hundred thousand dollars.
Prior to Gary’s life turning upside down, he had a career in the Navy. It was also from his training at the camp, he learned how to fly to transport precious cargo undetected, which would later aid him in his drug smuggling.
Reportedly, Gary served the Navy for five years after high school and got his aviation license in 1964.
Circa 1970, Gary then opened Betzner Flying Service with his second wife. Thus, he got into the crop-dusting business.
Is Gary Betzner Married?
Yes, Gary Betzner is married — not once, twice, but thrice!
His first wife is Claudia with whom he shares a daughter named Polly.
Gary then met his second wife Sally on July 20, 1969, during a moon landing party, when he was still married to Claudia. Shortly after divorcing Claudia, Gary then married Sally, and together, they went on to have two children, daughter Sara Lee and son Travis.
The Invisible Pilot depicts his three children as casualties of their father’s war against convention, rules, and responsibility. Although the show lets the kids process some of their pain and trauma, what’s lost is forever gone.
“It’s all about Gary,” Sally says at one point.
As for Gary’s third wife, he chose to keep her anonymous.
Gary Betzner Age
Gary Betzner was 81 years of age when he appeared on The Invisible Pilot in 2022.
His birthday wasn’t revealed.
Gary Betzner Parents
Gary Betzner doesn’t have any good memories with his parents. All he remembers is his dad being abusive and his mother abandoning him when he was just a child.
Where Does Gary Betzner Live?
As of 2022, Gary resided in Arkansas.
But originally, he is from Akron, Ohio.
Is Gary Betzner On Instagram And Facebook?
No, Gary wasn’t on Instagram or Facebook.