Mark Wade was born August 27, 1950 in Dayton, Ohio to Harold & Bereniece Wade.
He grew up in Baltimore, Ohio, near Columbus. At the age of 12, Mark saw ventriloquist Jimmy Nelson, (another member of the Ventriloquist Hall of Fame) on television. This was around the same time that his fascination with magic began.
An avid reader, Mark would get every book on magic and ventriloquism he could find at the library. He began working on tricks and routines for his act.
In the fifth grade, Mark’s school principal found out Mark was doing magic and ventriloquism. He immediately called for an assembly and brought all the students to the gymnasium. The approximately 30 minute performance was Mark’s very first show.
During high school, a friend of Mark’s purchased the stock of a magic shop that was closing. Among the wares were booklets from the original Fred Maher Course of Ventriloquism. The friend had no use for them and gave them to Mark. Naturally Mark read them cover to cover.
After high school, Mark attended Ohio University in Athens, OH. where he focused on a degree in Education. While at school, he discovered that Maher Studios was still in business. He contacted Clinton Detweiler who ran the studio and took his version of the Maher Course as well.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree, Mark began teaching at an elementary school. He did not know it at the time, but this experience would serve him well later in life.
In addition to teaching, Mark was also doing ventriloquism shows on the side. After three years of teaching, he had decided to enter show business full time.
At the start, Mark was doing everything from lounge shows to festivals. He enjoyed working in the libraries and schools too. At one festival convention, one of the biggest fair agents in the United States saw his showcase performance. That summer, he booked Mark solid as the opening act for Garth Brooks, Reba McIntire, Trace Adkins, Marie Osmond, The Oak Ridge Boys and many other headliners.
During the summer, Mark would be busy at fairs working the grandstand shows. At the same time, his school shows took off and he managed to book his fall, winter and spring doing assembly programs.
His teaching experience came in handy as he was able to understand what schools needed. This also helped him to form solid relationships with educators. As a result, Mark would be asked back to schools year after year and his reputation grew.
Having formed a close friendship with Clinton Detweiler of Maher Studios, Mark began to help him too. In his spare time, he would write articles that Clinton would publish in his Newsy Vents magazine. Newsy Vents was the official magazine of the N.A.A.V. (North American Association of Ventriloquists)
In 1977, Mark’s friend Bill Boley nominated Wade for a position on the Vent Haven Museum’s Board of Advisors. That year he became an advisor alongside ventriloquist Johnny Main and Clinton Detweiler.
A year later, Mark was tasked to organize the Vent Haven Museum’s convention. In the early days of the event, the organizer was the Chairman of the convention. The Chairman would work with the Executive Director who was a member of the Museum staff. The position would rotate among the advisors each year. Wade was the convention chairman 11 times between 1978 and 1996.
In 1980, Mark was awarded the prestigious Ventriloquist of the Year Award by the museum.
At the end of the 1996 convention, the executive director suddenly stepped down. No one was set to take over the job, and so the convention came to a halt and there was no convention from 1997 – 1999.
In 1999, John Brooking, the President of the Vent Haven Museum called Mark. He wanted Wade to take over the convention. Mark agreed on the basis that he would be the Executive Director and the job would remain his. Brooking agreed.
In 2000, the Vent Haven ConVENTion was brought back to life. Mark literally built the conVENTion from nothing. In 2018, the ConVENTion boasted an attendance of over 500 people with 16 countries represented.
Wade eventually phased out of performing at fairs and began to focus on schools and libraries. He became known as “America’s Foremost Children’s Ventriloquist.”
Mark authored two landmark books on entertaining children with ventriloquism. His first book, Kidshow Ventriloquism is in use in 26 countries, including a Japanese language edition.
Wade’s second book, Kidshow Ventriloquism Encore, expanded on the first. These books have become the bibles of children’s entertainment. They are must reads for the ventriloquist, magic and clowning communities.
The books created a demand for Mark to lecture on ventriloquism and kid show performing. He lectured three times in Japan, twice in the U.K., in Canada and across the United States.
Mark also writes for many entertainers magazines. His columns may be found in the KidAbra Journal and the Rubber Chicken magazine which is published in the UK. Mark also writes for the International Ventriloquist Society’s Spotlight and several blogs.
Time Magazine wrote an article on Mark’s comedy writing skills too. Mark has written many scripts for other performers, both professional and amateur.
Mark Wade has made eight appearances on nationally syndicated television shows. Among these include interviews on “Good Morning , America”, the CBS Evening News, and “Entertainment Tonight.”
Perhaps Mark’s biggest surprise was when his son Brett (born 1991) called him to tell Mark was being talked about on the game show “Jeopardy.” The nationally known quiz show asked contestants to name “America’s #1 Children’s Ventriloquist”. Naturally, the answer was “Who is MARK WADE!”
In 2006, Mark married Jody Rushman.
In 2013, following the passing of Clinton Detweiler, the Detweiler family passed Maher Studios on to their close friend Mark. Wade brought on two partners, Ken Groves and Tom Crowl.
From 2013 – 2016, Wade was the head of Maher Studios and the executive director of the International Ventriloquist Society. At the end of 2016, he decided to step down so he could focus his energy on the Vent Haven ConVENTion.
Today, Mark is semi-retired and resides in Florida with wife Jody. He continues to organize the Ventriloquist ConVENTion and does shows when time permits.
Mark’s DVD Successful Ventriloquism was included as part of the Maher Course Of Ventriloquism for many years.
Mark also recorded several other Ventriloquism instructional tools including: