I started my career over 25 years ago at a small family party where I wore a rented suit and spray painted my Black hair white. I looked terrible but the kids didn’t care.
On a trip with my kids to visit with Santa at Macy’s in Manhattan, I was approached by the management and asked if I had ever thought of playing Santa. After a 3 hour interview I was hired as a Macy’s Santa. I worked for them for 5 years as one of the weekend Santas. I loved it, but working a full time job and a full time weekend job was taking its toll on me. I realized that I could make my own suit and do parties closer to home. I soon made a name for myself and was turning away parties due to not having enough time.
I started to get calls from people that wanted to know how much I would charge to see their dying relative. Of course I charged nothing.
I soon realized that this was a great way to get involved with charity work. I am now involved with the NYU Langone Medical center, St. Jude Hospital, Babylon Breast Cancer Coalition and John Theissen.
In 2011 I formed Santa’s BBQ to do a bit of cooking and some catering. Cooking has always been a great love of mine, and what better way to make people happy all year round? Again I realized this was a great way to get involved with charity work. Santas BBQ has to date donated 100’s of lbs. of food to fund raisers for Cancer research. Santas BBQ has helped cook for the residents and their families of Ronald McDonald house.
We have been involved with the north shore VA Hospital, and cooks for families during the holidays that have be stricken with Cancer here on Long Island (Babylon Breast Cancer Coalition). When Sandy hit Santas BBQ went to the town of Babylon with others to cook for the people that lost homes and for the first responders. We cooked in Long Beach and Lindenhurst as well. We prepared roughly 29,000 meals over the course of three consecutive weekends.
I have appeared on the Today show numerous times and have been interviewed by Channel 12, Channel 7, The New York Post, and News Day. I have been in 3 movies to date and I am working on a book. I have done parties for: 20th. Century Fox, Universal, The NY Yankees, and many private clubs in NYC. I have met countless celebrities.
I always keep in mind what Shirley Temple once said “I stopped believing in Santa Claus when he asked for my autograph”.
I am now working with Time to play a nonprofit organization to help raise awareness in elementary school age children on the subject of what makes you happy and what makes you sad and to provide proactive and preventive skills so they can enjoy life.