Art is a way with which people express themselves; it gives them an opportunity to create and give out. However, art has various and several forms; painting, sculpture, music, literature, drama, etc. Ventriloquism is also a form of art that sheds light on one’s talent to give a voice to a dummy! Here are ten of the most outstanding and famous ventriloquists who have blown the world away with their talent and exceptional abilities.
10 Tom Crowl
Tom Crowl has filled the room with happiness, enthusiasm, and energy for thirty years. The American ventriloquist had a rare talent whose purpose is to tickle the audience pink. Believe it or not, but Crowl has taken ventriloquism to a whole new level as he has started a trend setting online ventriloquism course, which made him the famous ventriloquist we know today. He has also shared his talent and taught ventriloquism skills to other ventriloquists around the world. The reason behind Tom’s fame and the fact that he is mentioned on such list is that he is a founder of the International Ventriloquist Society along with Ken Groves and Mark Wade, which is the ventriloquism art’s only professional organization. It gets real when you say he took his career to a whole new level.
Ventriloquist Taylor Mason knew how much he loved ventriloquism when he was 10; he received a puppet from his parents on his tenth birthday. Taylor Mason is not just a special ventriloquist; he took the profession and his skills to a whole new level as he put the puppet, stand-up comedy, and music together into a kind of a one-person show. The late 1990s is marked as a significant period of Mason’s career and life as he auditioned for and joined Star Search, hosted by Ed McMahon. Of course, Mason’s incredible talent made him the grand-prize winner, earning $100,000 and fame in the world of comedy. His fame made producers create The Comedy Club Network show for Showtime on cable-TV, and that allowed him to be featured in Comedy on Campus, a comedy for Showtime that broadcast in 1993.
Lynn Trefzger is a female ventriloquist with side-splitting tricks. She tickles her audience pink at colleges, on cruise ships, in theaters, and on television. Lynn has earned several awards and nominations throughout her career including The American Comedy Awards, Variety Entertainer of the Year, and Comedy Entertainer of the Year by National Association of Campus Activities. She has earned nominations for Best Female Performer by Corporate America Magazine and has been called Funniest Female by the Campus Activities magazine. Interestingly, Lynn earned the “People’s Choice Award” by the Ohio Arts Presenters Association in 2010. Bryan W. Simon, Director of the feature film I’m No Dummy says of Lynn, “Without a doubt, Lynn Trefzger is one of the best ventriloquists in the history of this art form. A true star in the comedy world”.
7 Jay Johnson
The 68-year-old jaw-droppingly hilarious ventriloquist, who was born and raised in Texas, is widely known for his significant role in Soap, an American sitcom aired on ABC from September 13, 1977, until April 20, 1981. He landed the role of Chuck Campbell, a ventriloquist who thought his puppet Bob was alive and made a plea that everyone thinks of Bob the puppet as human. Chuck could never move or go anywhere without his beloved puppet Bob; Bob was hilarious that he had the nerve to say the things that Chuck was embarrassed or shy to even utter. Jay Johnson also landed roles in Broken Badges (1990), a show of Stephen Cannell CBS television production where he was a police officer with mental illness and depression named Stanley Jones who was, of course, a ventriloquist.
Named as “America’s Foremost Children’s Ventriloquist”, Mark Wade took ventriloquism to an unbelievably professional level. Not only has he performed as a ventriloquist but also delivered lectures internationally on the subject. Moreover, he was named “Ventriloquist Of The Year” in 1980. He is the Executive Director of the Vent Haven International Ventriloquists’ ConVENTion and is the Executive Director of Maher Ventriloquist Studios, the oldest established ventriloquist studio that shares ventriloquism. He was one of three founders of the IVS (International Ventriloquist Society) in 2013; he took part in the foundation alongside Ken Groves and Tom Crowl. He also sits on the Board of Advisers for the Vent Haven Ventriloquist Museum, a post he has had for many years. Furthermore, Mark authored “Kidshow Ventriloquism“, a best-selling book that tackles the art of ventriloquism.
5 Paul Winchell
Paul Wilchinsky was born on December 21, 1922. He was the American ventriloquist, comedian, actor, humanitarian, and inventor who rose to fame in the 1950s and 1960s. In the early fifties, he was the host of his show: The Paul Winchell Show. The show had two additional titles: ‘The Speidel Show’, and ‘What’s My Name?’. From 1965–1968, Winchell was the host of the children’s television series, Winchell-Mahoney Time.
The late ventriloquist who gave his farewell to the world in 2005 was also a guest on Emmy Award-winning television series for almost two decades, such as Perry Mason, The Dick Van Dyke Show, McMillan & Wife, The Donna Reed Show. Moreover, he played Homer Winch on The Beverly Hillbillies in 1962. Furthermore, his experience and projects included animation; he originally was the voice of Tigger, Dick Dastardly, Gargamel, and other characters. Notably, he has his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his work in television.
David Strassman is an American ventriloquist, actor stand-up comedian, and voice artist. He rose to fame due to his performances of ventriloquism with Chuck Wood and Ted E. Bare. Most of the famous ventriloquists on the list have had a soft spot for magic tricks since they were kids. Likewise, David has been to Disneyland with his family as any other kid at his age, and a rush of excitement and amazement stung him when asked his parents to buy him some magic tricks. Strassman used to perform in his room; then he took it to a whole new level when decided to perform in before the entire neighborhood. Young Strassman believed in his abilities and the prospects of being a well-known ventriloquist when he grows up, and it has happened! He took part in ventriloquism class in junior high school, attended class prepared by local Chicago children’s television host Steve Hart. And, of course, Strassman showed that he was gifted and later on he has become a professional ventriloquist.
3 Edgar Bergen
Edgar Bergen is the oldest ventriloquist on the list; as he witnesses the early 20th century. The born-in-Chicago artist and radio comedian had his career swirling in the industry for around 60 years. Bergen hit fame with his ventriloquist’s dummy Charlie McCarthy. The Edgar Bergen-Charlie McCarthy Show constantly aired on American network radio from 1937 until 1957. Bergen patterned popular characters, including Mortimer Snerd and Effie Klinker which made appearances on his radio show in 1937–40 and 1942–43. Bergen’s sphere of influence extended across the world that he, later on, influenced Jeff Dunham, one of the most famous and the highest-earning ventriloquists in the world. The originally Swedish ventriloquist discovered uncanny and remarkable abilities that helped him voice puppets at the tender age of 11. When he was in high school, he had the head of his Charlie McCarthy; however, he created the body himself.
Being a Texas-born, Terry Fator is ventriloquist, impressionist, comedian, and singer who kicked ventriloquism a notch. He not only does ventriloquism shows and performances but also does ventriloquial impersonations and takes around 15 different puppets in one performance. Believe it or not, Fator was on season two of America’s Got Talent, and he was the winner! Winning the show made him rise to fame and receive the million-dollar prize. Then, he signed as the headliner at The Mirage hotel and casino in Las Vegas, Nevada with $100 million contracts for five years.
Terry Fator received a dummy at the tender age of 1, which he later used for his long-lasting hobby. When he was a child, Fator used to perform and do ventriloquism with his dummy before his family and friends; he used to impersonate singers. When reached the age of 18, Fator’s mother bought him his first ventriloquism dummy. Fator usually sings in the car which prompted him to sing as a ventriloquist. “One of the reasons I learned how to sing as a ventriloquist was because I like singing in the car,” Fator says. “I’d see other people singing in the car, and they looked goofy, so I’d do it without moving my lips”.
Here we come to the most special ventriloquist of all times. His career and fame are unrivaled in the world of ventriloquism. Jeff Dunham is an American ventriloquist, producer, and stand-up comedian who has been a guest on several television shows, such as Late Show with David Letterman, Comedy Central Presents, The Tonight Show and Sonny With a Chance. He performs in his own six shows that aired on Comedy Central: Jeff Dunham: Arguing with Myself, Jeff Dunham: Spark of Insanity, Jeff Dunham’s Very Special Christmas Special, Jeff Dunham: Controlled Chaos, Jeff Dunham: Minding the Monsters, and Jeff Dunham: All Over the Map. Dunham, moreover, performed in The Jeff Dunham Show in 2009.
Interestingly, Jeff Dunham has been the most critically acclaimed and popular ventriloquist since Edgar Bergen’s appearance in the world of ventriloquism. Forbes.com ranked Dunham as the third highest-paid comedian in the United States following Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock. Purportedly, he was one of the highest-earning comedians in 2008 and 2009, as his earnings soared past $30 million at that time.
His ventriloquism tendencies kicked off in 1970 at the tender age of 8. It all started when his parents gave him a Mortimer Snerd dummy for Christmas with an album to teach him how to use the dummy. Ventriloquism had little Duhnam eyes sparkling that he swirled to the library, checking a book about the art that has to lead him to fame and wealth. Dunham came under Edgar Bergen’s significant influence, considering his ways to do the magic! Jeff Dunham has had a part devoted to himself in The Vent Haven Museum alongside his idol and inspiration Edgar Bergen.
What do you know about the art of ventriloquism? And who is the most famous ventriloquist in your opinion? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section down below.