Ventriloquist Terry Fator
has come a long way from performing at Butte High School and Butt Central's graduation parties. On August 21, he was crowned the new winner of America's Got Talent
, becoming the recipient of the million-dollar cash prize. His success has his manager, John Raymond, drowning in emails and messages from Fator's eager supporters.
“I've got 400 e-mails in my inbox and another 200 phone messages to return,” Raymond told The Montana Standard
. “You know when they say you take three steps forward and 10 steps back? That's what I have. I answer [to] a few messages and get 20 more when I'm responding."
Raymond first met Fator five years ago at the Rocky Mountain Fair Association meeting in Billings. Raymond said he immediately felt Fator was “the most talented individual” he had ever witnessed. Fator, meanwhile, felt his encounter with Raymond served as the turning point of his career.
"I'd been toiling in the trenches, just working as hard as I can,” Fator told The Montana Standard
in a phone interview. “Then I met John. I told him one of my biggest problems is I can't get people to book me throughout the year and he said, ‘I think that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard.'”
Raymond promised Fator that he would be able to book him stints every time. Subsequently, Fator hired Raymond as his manager.
"I was painting houses in the summer and he promised me that [I] should not be working painting houses,” Fator said. “I signed a management deal that day and I have not painted a house since."
A skilled ventriloquist and performer, Terry Fator successfully beat 19 other finalists on America's Got Talent
. He credits Raymond for helping him develop the talent that secured his victory.
"John and I were driving back from [Las Vegas] and I was signing to Garth Brooks on the radio,” Fator said. “John said ‘You think you could do that with a puppet?' Sure enough it turns out I could and I had a show the next night and it worked and it was in Anaconda. That [skill] is what won me America's Got Talent
He added, "There's no doubt in my mind I wouldn't be where I am without John Raymond,” Terry Fator said. “I give John a lot of credit for believing in me."
Now, after much hard work and dedication, Fator and Raymond are enjoying the fruits of their labor. Raymond's business is doing better thanks to Fator's newfound fame, while Fator continues to get offers for numerous projects. He appeared on the Jerry Lewis Telethon on Monday, and is scheduled to perform at Las Vegas on October 14.
-Lisa Claustro, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
Source: The Montana Standard
(Image Courtesy of EW.com)