I started in Show Business just because I showed some kindness to an 80 year old man on a cruise ship where I was working. I found out he was truly a famous ventriloquist named Howie Olson. And he became my mentor.
Howie was an entertainer all his life. Literally. He started at the age of 5. He and his father, the Great Chesterfield, played Vaudeville. After the Air Force, where is also entertained the troops, he made his career in radio and TV for 40+ years. In Houston, Texas he had a radio and sponsored TV show called Phenix Phil. In Madison, Wisconsin, he and his sidekick puppet Cowboy Eddie were the stars on WISC-TV Circus 3, a children's afternoon TV show with a live audience. He was a well known and respected wooden figure maker, magician, and ventriloquist.
He took me on as his apprentice. Howie died in 1992 and left his magic and puppets and legacy to me. One of the puppets was the famous Cowboy Eddie who was carved in 1910 by the Mack brothers, the same ones who carved Charlie McCarthy.
Howie literally saved my life. I ended up in a new city not knowing anyone and I needed to feed my kids. So I got my puppets and magic and everything he taught me and did show after show after show. I'm still doing show after show after show. And like they say, the rest is history!