Terry Fator, ventriloquist, impressionist, singer, comedian and Las Vegas headliner, will provide an unforgettable evening of entertainment at the Chumash Casino Resort’s annual Toys For Tots fundraiser in the Samala Showroom at 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 14.
A portion of the proceeds from this event will be donated to the Central Coast Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program, which serves children in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.
Terry Fator, the 2007 winner of the popular show “America’s Got Talent,” collected his $1 million and went on to sign as the headliner at The Mirage hotel and casino in Las Vegas with a five-year, $100 million contract, one of the largest entertainment deals in Las Vegas history. He’s still performing at The Mirage, but he also takes his act on tour to selected cities across the nation.
Born in Dallas, Texas, the beginning of Fator’s ventriloquism career dates back to when he was in fifth grade. While researching for an assignment, he came across a book about ventriloquism and started learning about it. A few weeks later, Fator purchased a Willie Talk dummy from Sears and began entertaining family and friends with his ventriloquism and impersonations of singers and actors.
Before he became famous for his ventriloquism, he toured as the lead singer for a band called “Freedom Jam” in 1987-88. The group performed at more than 200 high schools and middle schools across the United States and Canada.
In 1988, he was the lead singer of a show band called “Texas the Band” and incorporated his puppet Walter T. Airedale into his shows. When a record label representative came to hear the band, he told Fator that he had to stop doing impressions and wanted him to sing in his own voice. Fator tried it for a few weeks and hated it. He preferred to do impressions and eventually left the band.
Fator performed as comedian and ventriloquist for many years but had little success. He was discouraged and contemplated pursuing another career, but his family encouraged him to continue.
On June 19, 2007, Fator made his first appearance on “America’s Got Talent” in the competition show’s second season. He assumed he would appear for a few episodes to gain exposure that may help him get future gigs. Instead, he won the contest and the rest is history.
Located on Highway 246 in Santa Ynez, California, the Chumash Casino Resort is an age 21-and-older venue. Tickets for the show are $49, $59, $69, $74 & $79 and are available at the Chumash Casino Resort’s Club Indulge or online at www.chumashcasino.com.