Christmas 1973, Phil’s mother put Horseman Willie Talk dolls on layaway for Phil and his sister Melissa. That first instruction sheet began his journey. Three years later, his mother gave him a Juro Charlie McCarthy doll and the Edgar Bergen album. Phil worked so hard he wore the album out in the process!
Phil and Melissa’s 1978 fan letter, addressed merely ‘Edgar Bergen Hollywood California’, resulted in a letter from Mr Bergen, a new copy of his album, and autographed photos for both children. Phil still has the album and photo and credits Edgar Bergen’s influence for the foundations of his act and, years later, Mark Wade for mentoring him in kids show work.
Phil completed the Maher course in 1982. This knowledge lit a fire under the young ventriloquist and he became determined to build his own puppets.
Derailed in 1990 by his father’s death and family need, Phil used his sculpting skills in the Haunted house, Texas film and TV, and Halloween industries for 20 years until health issues from the chemicals involved forced him to redirect his talents.
“It was like a welcome mat from the Universe.”
Phil returned to ventriloquism. Pulling out his old Charlie doll, Bergen Album, books, and writings, he reviewed old skills and reconnected with Clinton Detweiler for coaching on figure building.
Phil builds all his own props and figures.
Phil worked as a ventriloquist on a TV program, Keys for Kiddos from 2012-2015. He became the first Ventriloquist to play the historic Numbers Night Club in Houston as well as Houston’s House of Blues. During those years Phil’s original character, Bosworth the talking crow, was joined by Corky a cheeky boy, Molasses the dumb bunny (2014) and Aunt Banny Hen (Christmas 2015).
Looking forward, Phil is working on his act for America’s Got Talent #14 and being guided by the same casting producer who helped Darci Farmer go all the way!
Phil Nichols has accomplished a great deal in his career. You can contact Mr. Nichols at his web site: http://www.texasvents.com
This article was written by I.V.S. Member and contributor Ann Seeton.
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