Ventriloquist Terry Fator gearing up for San Diego County Fair performance in Del Mar


He’s won NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” is dominating Las Vegas in a long-running stage show, has countless fans around the world, and now ventriloquist Terry Fator is taking his act to San Diego Fair on June 12.

“I’ve been to San Diego many times when I was still performing at schools before ‘America’s Got Talent,’” Fator said. “It’s one of my sister’s favorite places to visit.”

Fator’s life radically changed upon winning “America’s Got Talent” in 2007 during the show’s second season, which thrust him into the national spotlight. Fator struggled for many years before finding success on “Talent,” one of his first jobs being a decade-long stint as a janitor with his parents. He’s open about appearing in rooms with very low attendance to performing at fairs for “nobody at the kids tent next to the petting zoo.” (At this year’s fair, Fator has a plum prime-time slot.)

“To go from working as a janitor to being one of the top headliners in Vegas is what my show is about,” said Fator of his path to success. “I want people to feel like what it’s been like for me. My goal is that hopefully audiences leave my show feeling inspired.”

Since winning “America’s Got Talent” (a performance of the Garth Brooks hit “Friends in Low Places” by one of his many characters sealed the deal), Fator has been a ubiquitous presence in Las Vegas, entertaining millions during his residency at the Mirage Hotel and Casino.

He called the residency “one of the best gigs in show business,” as he frequently hobnobs with other entertainers, including Shania Twain and Carrot Top, and loves the comfort of having a packed house every night without the downsides of life on the road.

“To be able to have your own theater and have people come from all over world to see you, and then to sleep in your own bed is the dream,” he said of the gig.

To avoid conflicts with his Mirage residency and national touring schedule (which will bring him to New York and Florida after San Diego), Fator’s Mirage show and the road show are totally different. “The Mirage didn’t like the idea of me touring, so I wrote a completely new show to take on the road,” he said. “That way, if you’ve seen me in Vegas, you know you’re going to get a something different whenever I’m somewhere else.”

Perhaps it’s that work ethic — which includes hundreds of voices and characters — that has made Fator one of the most profitable comics in the United States. Upon starting his residency at the Mirage, Fator signed one of the most lucrative contracts in Las Vegas history- netting a cool $100 million for five years. (The contract ends next year.)

It’s a far cry from his life before hitting the Las Vegas Strip, when as legend has it, Fator once performed in a thousand-seat theater. The number of people in attendance? One person.

Said Fator, “The one thing I wanted more than anything was to have an audience, and for a long time I’ve never had a lot of people who would see the fruits of my labor. Now I have a crowd every single night.”

Catch Terry Fator at the San Diego County Fair at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 12. For information, visit